Prosecutor probed over murder victim's bribery list

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- A senior prosecutor is under investigation on suspicion of taking kickbacks from a wealthy businessman believed to have been murdered by a member of Seoul municipal council in a contract killing, the top prosecution office said Friday.

The investigation followed the discovery of a memo believed to have been written by the 67-year-old murder victim surnamed Song. The memo includes the names of numerous civil servants, including the prosecutor whose identity has been withheld, who allegedly accepted bribes from Song.

Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae on Tuesday ordered the Supreme Prosecutors' Office (SPO) to investigate the prosecutor, who has been relieved of duty, to determine the veracity of the allegations.

"We found evidence of contact between the prosecutor and (Song)," said a prosecutor at the SPO close to the investigation. "We cannot disclose details about the seized evidence."

According to sources at the SPO, investigators are analyzing phone records of the prosecutor and other relevant data.

The senior prosecutor allegedly received a total of 17.8 million won (US$17,300) from Song on 10 different occasions between 2005 and 2011, according to the memo.

The prosecutor was working at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors' Office at the time of the alleged bribery exchange, prosecutors said, adding that Song was indicted for fraud in 2006.

Kim Hyung-sik, a 44-year-old Seoul city councilor, has already been detained on suspicion of hiring a friend, surnamed Paeng, to murder Song, to whom he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, in early March.

Kim ran as a candidate of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy in the June 4 local elections, winning a seat on the Seoul city council. He left the party after being arrested by police.

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