Korea’s former opposition party chief Song?Young-gil?denied bail in cash-for-votes scandal trial

Song Young-gil, former head of the Democratic Party of Korea, leaves the Seoul Central District Court, Dec. 18, 2023. Yonhap

Song Young-gil, former head of the Democratic Party of Korea, leaves the Seoul Central District Court, Dec. 18, 2023. Yonhap

A Seoul court rejected a bail request from Song Young-gil, a former head of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), who has been on trial over a cash-for-votes scandal surrounding the party’s 2021 leadership election.

Song filed for bail last month and has since argued that he should be allowed to conduct campaigns ahead of the April 10 general elections. Song launched a new party, named the “Pine Tree Party” in Korean, while behind bars earlier this month.

But the Seoul Central District Court rejected the request, apparently over concern that if released on bail, Song could meet with people involved in his case and could destroy evidence. The court voiced such concerns during his trial hearing last week.

Song was arrested in December 2023 and indicted in January over charges that his campaign distributed cash envelopes totaling 66 million won ($48,980) to 20 sitting DPK lawmakers and other party members in the run-up to the party’s leadership election in May 2021, which he ultimately won.

Song has denied the charges. (Yonhap)

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