Lee Sung-yoon (picture), chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, was indicted on Wednesday on charges of obstructing an investigation into an illegal travel ban against former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui in 2019. This is the first time in the country’s history that the head of the nation’s largest prosecutor’s office is being tried as the accused while in office.
An investigation team at the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Lee for abuse of authority on Wednesday. Considering that Chief Lee was the anti-corruption chief at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, acting Prosecutor General Cho Nam-kwan ordered a prosecutor from the Suwon office to indict Lee on behalf of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office so that the case will be tried at the Seoul Central District Court. As a result, an unprecedented development in the country’s constitutional history has occurred, where the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office indicted the head of the agency, and the Seoul office will maintain its chief’s indictment.
To summarize the coverage of the Dong-A Ilbo, the prosecution submitted a 16-page complaint to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. According to the complaint, when the Anyang Branch of the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office tried to investigate Prosecutor Lee Gyu-won from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office for slapping illegal travel ban against former Vice Justice Minister Kim, Lee pressured them to drop the case three times between June 20 and July 4 in 2019. Lee concluded the investigation by saying, at first, that he would pretend that he did not receive the investigation report on the travel ban, and, at the end, ordering them to write a phrase in the report that they will not conduct a further investigation into the case.
There are calls in and out of the prosecution that Lee should be excluded from duties and steps for disciplinary action should begin. Lee, who is taking time off for personal reasons, issued a statement, saying he has never committed any illegal activities. He said he will do his best to reveal the truth through trials and restore the honor of the anti-corruption department of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
Seong-Ho Hwang firstname.lastname@example.org · Seok-Jun Bae email@example.com