In addition, independent Rep. Yoon Kwan-seok, who was arrested and charged with the MDP's "suspicion of money envelopes at the National Convention," claimed in court that he received 100 envelopes of money containing 20 million won each from former MDP Deputy Secretary General Lee Jung-geun.

Contrary to his previous stance, which denied the allegations outright, he acknowledged some of the facts.

He declined to comment on the allegations of spraying bags of money, which are still under investigation by prosecutors.

Yoon's lawyer said at the first preparatory hearing of the Seoul Central District Court's Criminal Settlement Division 18-21 (presiding judge Kim Jung-gon and Kim Mi-kyung before Heo Kyung-moo) on 2 July, "He deeply regrets his involvement in the crime and acknowledges most of the facts except for some exaggerations."

However, the defense lawyer said, "When the defendant checked the envelope, it was said that the money contained was 300 million won, not 100 million won (as stated in the prosecution)."

In May 2021, he admitted to receiving 5 envelopes of money for the purpose of delivering them to incumbent members of the Democratic Party for the election of former Representative Song Young-gil, 60, on two occasions, but reduced the amount to 20 million won instead of 6 million won.

Regarding the allegations that Rep. Yoon instructed, solicited, and demanded that lawmakers prepare envelopes of money to be sprayed, he emphasized, "I think it was a consultation (with the officials of the presidential election camp) and not an instruction or request."

"Rep. Yoon did not ask for the money from himself, but was discussing and deciding how to give it to other lawmakers," he said, adding, "The prosecution that the defendant asked for money from him is wrong."

While denying the allegations that he ordered the spraying of the bags of money, he appears to have sidestepped the question of whether or not the actual spraying was carried out, using expressions such as "consultation" and "discussion."

He said, "It is a matter for the investigation team to prove what (Rep. Yoon's money received) did."

In response, the prosecution said, "Based on the evidence and statements obtained so far, the defendant is not just a forwarder, but is in a position to independently judge who to deliver the envelope of money to," and reiterated his request to "clarify his position on this matter."

The court said, "If Rep. Yoon had only delivered the envelope when the object and method of disbursement were determined, the question may arise as to whether he would be punished," adding, "However, if Rep. Yoon had the authority to decide which legislator to give the money to based on his own judgment, this is another matter."

According to the Political Parties Law, providing property benefits to election campaign officials is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine, but directing, soliciting, or soliciting such acts can be punished with imprisonment for up to five years or a fine, so the penalties are heavier.

The court said it plans to merge the two trials as much as possible in light of the overlap between the prosecutions and those of Kang Rae-gu, 2, a former member of the Korea Water Resources Corporation's Standing Audit Committee, who was put on trial for allegedly delivering envelopes of money to Rep. Yoon.

(Photo=Yonhap News)