A Seoul court has found former lawmaker Kwak Sang-do, a key figure in the Daejang-dong land development scandal, not guilty of bribery.
The Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday found Kwak not guilty of receiving and brokering bribes but fined him eight million won for violating the Political Funds Act.
The court’s decision comes after Kwak was indicted last February on three charges, including bribery and violation of the Political Funds Act, for which the prosecution had sought 15 years in prison and a fine of some five billion won.
Kwak was accused of receiving five billion won, or around three-point-nine million U.S. dollars, in the form of his son's severance pay from asset management company Hwacheon Daeyu in return for helping the company form a consortium with Hana Bank related to the development project.
Prosecutors believe Kwak exerted influence on Hana Financial Group Chairman Kim Jung-tai to keep the consortium alive at the request of Kim Man-bae, the largest shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu.
Kwak was also suspected of receiving illicit political contributions around the time of the 2016 parliamentary elections to the tune of 50 million won from lawyer Nam Wook, another central figure in the project.
The latest ruling is the first handed down for a key figure involved in the Daejang-dong development scandal.