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Court rejects arrest warrant request for ex-KDB chief

A Seoul court on Saturday rejected a prosecution request to issue a warrant to arrest a former head of the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) who is facing a string of bribery allegations.

   On Wednesday, the prosecution filed for a writ to formally arrest Kang Man-soo, 71, on charges of bribery and breach of trust.

   The Seoul Central District Court, however, said it is hard to acknowledge the reason and necessity for the detention when Kang's major crime allegations are still disputable.

   Prosecutors suspect that Kang received some hundreds of millions of won in kickbacks from Hansung Enterprise Co., a local seafood maker, since he took office as the country's finance minister in 2008. Lim Woo-kun, the company's chief, went to the same high school as Kang.

   The 71-year-old is accused of peddling unlawful influence to help the company receive some 24 billion won (US$21.4 million) in loans from the KDB in 2011.

   Kang served as the head of the KDB from 2011 to 2013, after working as a special presidential adviser from 2009 to 2011 under the Lee Myung-bak administration.

   He is also suspected of exerting influence on Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. to make the shipbuilder invest in a local biotech firm run by his acquaintance.

   Daewoo Shipbuilding injected some 4.4 billion won into the firm's research project between 2012 and 2013. The funding stopped following Kang's retirement, according to prosecutors.

   The KDB is the financially troubled shipbuilder's largest shareholder.

   His alleged irregularities came to the surface after prosecutors launched a full-fledged investigation into the shipyard earlier this year.

   Prosecutors said they will review whether to file for another warrant after supplementing their investigation. (Yonhap)

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