Three lawmakers wanted on corruption and campaign finance offenses were arrested minutes before the South Korea National Assembly was called into an extra session at midnight Thursday that would have given them immunity from arrest.
Arrested at the legislative chamber in front of TV cameras were Kim Jae-yun from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy Party, and Cho Hyun-yong and Park Sang-eun from the ruling Saenuri Party, Arirang News said Friday.
A local court had earlier rejected the prosecution’s request to arrest two other lawmakers from the main opposition party.
Kim Jae-yun was charged with taking $50,000 from the head of a Seoul vocational school in return for favors in getting legislation passed.
The ruling party’s Cho Hyun-yong was charged with taking more than $150,0000 from a railway parts supplier in return for contracts since August 2008.
Park Sang-eun was arrested for taking $600,000 in secret political funding from a company he used to work for, Arirang News said.
The South Korea government has been under pressure to end corruption since April’s ferry accident that killed more than 300 people, most of them students.
Investigators found that “corrupt and collusive ties between government officials and businesses played a large role in the sinking,” Arirang News said.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.