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S. Korea opposition MP faces graft charges over savings bank lobbying

SEOUL -- A senior opposition politician was indicted Friday for his role in a major corruption scandal involving South Korea's troubled savings banks, prosecutors said.

Park Jie-won, the floor leader of the main opposition Democratic United Party, was not detained, prosecutors said, but would stand trial on graft charges.

He is accused of receiving 80 million won (US$72,000) from two savings banks in return for lobbying for their survival.

The scandal erupted in early 2011 when Busan and three other savings banks were suspended for inadequate liquidity, triggering a wider probe into irregularities by other banks.

So far 16 savings banks, including Busan, have been suspended, dozens of politicians, government officials, bankers and others have been charged with corruption, and three bankers have committed suicide.

In February, eight Busan executives received jail terms of up to 14 years for a lobbying operation aimed at keeping the bank open and six trillion won of illegal lending.

In July, Lee Sang-deuk, the elder brother of President Lee Myung-bak, was charged for taking 757 million won from bankers and a businessman.

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