The Seoul Eastern District Court will open on Monday the first preparatory hearing in the trial of Yoo Jae-soo, the former Busan vice mayor for economic affairs who was indicted and detained for accepting bribes worth about 50 million won.
A preparatory hearing is held ahead of an official trial and enables the court to determine the views of the prosecution and the defense in a bid to devise plans on examining evidence. Unlike an official trial, the defendant is not obligated to appear in court.
Yoo was indicted last month on charges of pocketing 49-and-a-half million won in bribes from four businesspeople while working at the Financial Services Commission.
He is suspected of receiving monetary and other bribes from people who work at companies being monitored by the financial watchdog.
The preparatory hearing is expected to focus on whether the money and goods that Yoo got from the companies can be categorized as bribes.
The upcoming trial will only deal with Yoo’s personal bribery charges and not allegations that former Justice Minister Cho Kuk interfered in an inspection of Yoo.
When bribery suspicions surrounding Yoo first arose, he became subject to an inspection by a special team under Cho’s purview as then senior presidential secretary for civil affairs.
Yoo was not disciplined for the alleged improprieties, inviting suspicion that Cho’s team may have engaged in a cover-up.