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Son of S. Korean President Arrested

May 18, 2002

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A judge issued an arrest warrant Saturday for the youngest son of President Kim Dae-jung for his alleged involvement in a bribery and influence-peddling scandal that has hurt the popularity of his father, YTN news reported.

Kim Hong-gul, 39, the youngest of the president’s three sons, was accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes last year from a businessman who is now in jail.

The judge issued the arrest warrant for Hong-gul while he was at the state prosecutor’s office in Seoul, where he remains talking to officials.

Kim Dae-jung, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who campaigned for the presidency on a platform of clean government, has not been implicated in any scandal. However, corruption investigations involving government officials as well as two of his sons have hurt his image.

Kim’s single five-year term ends in February, and by law he cannot seek re-election. Presidential elections will be held in December.

If convicted of bribery, Hong-gul could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Hong-gul, who lives in Los Angeles, returned earlier this week to face allegations involving Choi Kyu-sun, a lobbyist under arrest on bribery charges. Choi allegedly bribed Hong-gul to help a lottery operator, Tiger Pools Korea, win a sports lottery license in early 2001.

Local media quoted prosecutors as saying that Hong-gul acknowledged receiving at least $2.1 million from Choi and other businessmen. The prosecutors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hong-gul denied that he had peddled influence in return for the money.

The president’s second oldest son, Kim Hong-up, is also suspected of having received bribes. Prosecutors have yet to question him.

Update hourly