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Opposition lawmaker grilled in illegal fund probe

All Headlines 10:59 March 09, 2018

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- A prominent opposition lawmaker appeared for prosecution questioning Friday over allegations that he siphoned off funds from his private education foundation and laundered the money.

Rep. Hong Moon-jong of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) arrived at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office around 9:30 a.m.

"I will talk to the prosecutors," he told reporters asking whether he admits to the suspicions. "I've done nothing wrong, and I will faithfully answer to the interrogation."

Hong, known for his close ties to ousted President Park Geun-hye, is suspected of misappropriating about 1.9 billion won (US$1.7 million) of the donations provided to the foundation, of which he was the board chairman in 2012.

Hong is suspected of having his Kyung School Foundation buy with the donation questionable paintings and calligraphic works from one of his political faction members, identified only as Kim, in a scheme seen as an act of money laundering.

The four-term lawmaker is the current chairman of the board of the private school foundation based in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul.

Prosecutors suspect that Kim later paid back the 1.9 billion won to Hong.

They noted that 1 billion won of the donations to the school foundation was paid by former Saenuri lawmaker Jang Jung-eun, who was elected to the National Assembly in 2015 through the proportional representation system.

Prosecutors suspect Hong's role in Jang's parliamentary election.

Both Hong and Jang have denied any wrongdoing.

Rep. Hong Moon-jong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party answers reporters' questions on March 9, 2018, as he appeared for prosecution questioning over suspected use of illegal political funds. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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