|Rep. Kim Sung-tae, then floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, refutes the allegations regarding hiring irregularities connected to his daughter, at the National Assembly in this Dec. 20 photo. / Korea Times file|
By Park Ji-won
Former floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) Rep. Kim Sung-tae's alleged hiring scandal is heading toward a new round of political turmoil after a former executive at KT, the country's No. 2 telecom company, was arrested for allegations of being involved in providing favors to Kim's daughter in the hiring process.
In April 2011, Kim's daughter was hired as a contracted worker at a sports business unit of KT.
Then she gained full-time employment status in 2013 and left the company in February 2018. But local prosecutors found she hadn't been on the list of finalists who passed a documentation process during the recruitment period, raising suspicions that she received "hidden advantages" to pass the process.
The arrest of the KT executive followed. It's still unknown whether the prosecutor's office will summon the former LKP floor leader Kim for further questioning.
Regarding the case, Kim's office released a statement, Friday, saying: "The hiring process went through fairly. This whole situation is a political attack on me."
The former LKP floor leader also refuted media reports that raised allegations his nephew got extra credit to earn a full-time employment position at KT.
Political parties asked the local prosecutors' office to launch a full probe on the former floor leader over the allegations and Kim to take "full responsibility" of the growing fuss.
"A thorough investigation is needed for Kim as he might have influenced the hiring process for his daughter," a spokesman at the country's ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) said. Choi Suk, a representative of the country's progressive Justice Party, urged the possible investigation on the scandal should be focused on probing "apparent cozy ties between Kim and KT."
The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party urged the former LKP leader to quit to take responsibility if the allegation turns out to be true.