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Total overhaul of prosecution leadership

Posted May. 14, 2024 07:52,   

Updated May. 14, 2024 07:52


Lee Chang-soo, former chief of the Jeonju District Prosecutors' Office, has been appointed chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office. He will lead the investigation into allegations involving First Lady Kim Gun Hee, including the Deutsche Motors stock manipulation case and the suspicions about the Dior bag bribery. Prosecutor Lee is regarded as a close ally of President Yoon Suk Yeol, having served as the spokesperson for the Supreme Prosecutors' Office during Yoon's tenure as Attorney General.

On Monday, the Ministry of Justice announced the promotion and transfer of 39 prosecutors at the Supreme Prosecutor's Office. Song Kyung-ho, who had managed cases at the Central District Office for about two years, has been promoted to chief prosecutor of the Busan High Prosecutors' Office. Kim Chang-jin, who spearheaded the luxury bag case, and Koh Hyung-kon, who handled the Deutsche Motors case, have been appointed as the planning director of the Judicial Research and Training Institute and deputy chief prosecutor at the Suwon High Prosecutors' Office, respectively. All three received promotions, but following Prosecutor General Lee Won-seok's directive for a swift and rigorous investigation of the luxury bag case, the leadership of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, which had been overseeing the investigation of First Lady Kim, was completely overhauled. On the same day, the Criminal Department 1 of the Seoul Central District Office (Chief Prosecutor Kim Seung-ho) summoned Pastor Choi Jae-young, who had given the luxury bag to First Lady Kim, kicking off a thorough investigation and signaling that a summons for Mrs. Kim was imminent.

This personnel change occurred six days after Kim Ju-hyun was appointed Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs. The legal community noted that the timing of these appointments, coming about eight months after the previous round in September of the last year, was unusual. "This personnel move could pull the prosecution, which is poised to investigate Mrs. Kim, into the midst of political contention," a legal sector official remarked.

Dong-Jun Heo hungry@donga.com