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Former finance minister grilled over alleged influence-peddling

Prosecutors questioned former Finance Minister Choi Kyoung-hwan Friday over suspicions of influence-peddling to get one of his former interns a job at a public corporation.

The four-term lawmaker of the ruling Liberty Korea Party appeared at the Anyang branch of the Suwon District Prosecutors' Office in the morning.
 

Rep. Choi Kyoung-hwan of the ruling Liberty Korea Party touches a computer at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 10, 2017. (Yonhap)
Rep. Choi Kyoung-hwan of the ruling Liberty Korea Party touches a computer at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 10, 2017. (Yonhap)

Choi is suspected of pressuring the chief of the Small & Medium Business Corporation to hire the intern, surnamed Hwang, who received poor scores in the recruitment process in 2013. Choi, a close ally of President Park Geun-hye, was floor leader of the ruling party at that time.

Park Cheol-kyu, who headed SBC from 2012 to 2015, was indicted without detention in January 2016 for interfering in the recruitment process but Choi was cleared of charges.

During a trial in September Park testified that he was pressured by Choi, triggering a reinvestigation of the influential politician.

Prosecutors have since widened their probe, interrogating and indicting a number of officials embroiled in the case. Choi flatly denies the allegations. (Yonhap)

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