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(LEAD) Arrest motion for 2 lawmakers over 'cash envelope' scandal to be reported to National Assembly

Politics 15:20 May 30, 2023

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; ADDS additional info in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- A motion requesting parliamentary consent to potential arrests of two lawmakers over an election bribery scandal was reported to a plenary session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Prosecutors sought arrest warrants for the two -- Reps. Youn Kwan-suk and Lee Sung-man -- for their alleged involvement in a campaign to distribute "cash envelopes" containing a total of 94 million won (US$71,163) to members of the Democratic Party (DP) to help then candidate Song Yong-gil win party chairmanship ahead of the party's national convention in May 2021.

A National Assembly consent is necessary to arrest them because by law, legislators are immune from arrest while the parliament is in session, a measure designed to shield lawmakers from political persecution.

Youn faces allegations of conspiring with Song and other government officials to distribute 60 million won in cash to DP lawmakers. Lee allegedly gave out a combined 11 million won of cash to party officials.

The two left the party early this month and became independents after allegations surfaced.

The arrest motion will be put to a vote at a plenary session on June 12.

In order for the motion to pass, it requires a majority of the Assembly members to vote and a majority of those voting to cast their ballots in favor.

The motion can be rejected if all DP members vote against it, as the party holds a majority of 167 seats at the assembly.

During the current National Assembly, whose four-year term began in April 2020, a total of six arrest motions have been presented and four of them approved.

This combined file photo, taken May 3, 2023, shows Youn Kwan-suk (L) and Lee Sung-man, lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), attending a general meeting of the party's lawmakers at the National Assembly in Seoul. The two lawmakers, accused of involvement in a political funding scandal, said the same day they will voluntarily leave the party. (Yonhap)

This combined file photo, taken May 3, 2023, shows Youn Kwan-suk (L) and Lee Sung-man, lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), attending a general meeting of the party's lawmakers at the National Assembly in Seoul. The two lawmakers, accused of involvement in a political funding scandal, said the same day they will voluntarily leave the party. (Yonhap)

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