Arrest warrant sought for opposition lawmaker over suspected graft

SEOUL– Prosecutors sought a warrant on Monday to detain four-term opposition lawmaker Noh Woong-rae on suspicions that he received 60 million won (US$46,000) in bribes from a businessman.

Noh of the main opposition Democratic Party allegedly received the money before and after the 2020 parliamentary election from the businessperson, surnamed Park, in return for providing business favors, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office.

Prosecutors suspect the businessman sought the lawmaker’s influence in a range of business issues needing administrative backing.

The alleged bribe is also suspected to have been used for Noh’s electioneering, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors previously searched Noh’s home or office three times and seized bundles of cash worth 300 million won at his home, which could include the money allegedly given by Park.

The veteran lawmaker — who is barred from leaving the country as part of the investigation — has flatly refuted the allegations.

Noh’s detention requires parliamentary consent as lawmakers in South Korea are immune from arrest or detention while the National Assembly is in session.

A motion allowing the prosecution to arrest Noh should be reported at the earliest plenary parliamentary meeting, and the National Assembly speaker must put it to a vote within 72 hours after waiting a day. The motion is carried if half of the sitting members are present and half of those in attendance are in favor of it.

If the motion is passed, only then will a district court hold a hearing to decide whether to issue the arrest warrant for Noh.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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