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Ex-DP leader to address 'cash envelope' bribery scandal this week

All News 13:57 April 18, 2023

PARIS, April 18 (Yonhap) -- Song Yong-gil, a former leader of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), said Tuesday he will hold a press conference in Paris later this week to address suspicions that cash envelopes were distributed to help his campaign for party leader ahead of the 2021 national convention.

The former lawmaker is at the center of snowballing allegations that envelopes containing cash totaling 94 million won (US$71,700) were handed out to members of the then ruling DP ahead of the party convention in May 2021. Some lawmakers and party members who had served in Song's campaign are suspected of involvement in the illegal electioneering.

"I plan to hold a press conference this Saturday," Song, who has been staying in Paris since last year, told a Yonhap News Agency correspondent in Paris over the phone.

Allegations arose after recording files were revealed containing conversations in which Lee Jung-geun, a former deputy secretary general of the DP, said that Song was aware of the alleged bribes. Lee is suspected to have been involved in distributing money to party members.

Song has denied knowing about the bribery campaign.

"This is something that I don't know well," Song said. "As the prosecution is investigating the case, I have no choice but to decide what to do after watching the result."

On Monday, Rep. Lee Jae-myung, chairman of the DP, apologized over the scandal and said he had requested that Song return home to address the allegations.

Song, who was initially scheduled to return home in July, has not responded. He has been staying in Paris since last December as a visitor research professor at ESCP Business School.

Prosecutors have raided the homes and offices of Reps. Youn Kwan-suk and Lee Sung-man for their alleged involvement in distributing the money collected from regional businesspeople. Youn and Lee served in Song's campaign ahead of the national convention.

Both have denied the allegations, accusing the prosecution of a politically motivated investigation.

Prosecutors have not disclosed the names of the allegedly bribed party members, but between 10-20 DP lawmakers are suspected to have received the illicit money.

The case grew out of a separate investigation into suspicions that Lee received illegal political funds.

Ex-DP leader to address 'cash envelope' bribery scandal this week - 1


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