Democratic Party floor leader calls Yoon Seok-youl’s conduct an “unprecedented breach of order”

Posted on : 2021-09-15 18:41 KST Modified on : 2021-09-15 18:41 KST
The comments came on the same day that the Justice Minister spoke at the National Assembly, where he stressed the need to investigate growing allegations that the former prosecutor general abused his power for personal and political purposes
Democratic Party floor leader Yun Ho-jung speaks during a floor strategy meeting at the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
Democratic Party floor leader Yun Ho-jung speaks during a floor strategy meeting at the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)

South Korean Minister of Justice Park Beom-kye shared a message Tuesday stressing the need to “get to the bottom of what role Yoon Seok-youl played as prosecutor general” in the alleged incitement of criminal complaints against pro-Democratic Party figures by the political opposition.

“The questions the nation is asking are about whether old practices that had previously disappeared were revived during the period [Yoon] was prosecutor general, just ahead of him becoming a strong opposition party presidential contender,” he said.

Appearing that day before the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee, Park discussed the draft complaints allegedly sent to People Power Party (PPP) lawmaker Kim Woong by prosecutor Son Jun-seong.

“The documents include mention of Yoon’s wife and mother-in-law,” he noted.

“It wasn’t simply intended for a complaint. It’s the kind of thing that couldn’t have been written without a substantial amount of information having first been gathered,” he said.

“So going back to what the whistleblower Cho Seong-eun has said, I believe there had been some kind of monitoring or information gathering process,” he continued.

He went on to say that the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO) has been “proceeding with its investigation at a fast pace.”

“With that and the significant investigation underway by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office [SPO] inspection division, we seem to be getting closer to the substance of things,” he added.

Park also stressed the need for an investigation into a report by the Segye Ilbo newspaper stating that the SPO drafted an internal document for a response to various cases involving Yoon Seok-youl’s mother-in-law while he was prosecutor general.

“That document refers to circumstances that I always had questions about in terms of the complaint incitement allegations,” he said.

“It does seem to reflect part of the questions about, namely how [the complaints] appeared to have been based on various processes and procedures rather than just being dashed off,” he added.

His remarks suggested that the complaints allegedly delivered to Kim by Son may have been based in part on information from the documents related to Yoon’s mother-in-law, which the report said had been drafted by the SPO.

In a floor strategy meeting at the National Assembly the same day, Democratic Party floor leader Yoon Ho-jung noted the “press report that Yoon Seok-youl used confidential information for the prosecutors’ internal network as prosecutor general to draft a response document for defense in a case involving his own mother-in-law.”

“This is an unprecedented breach of order where Yoon Seok-youl privatized prosecutorial authority not just to attack the opposition party and media, but also to defend himself and his family,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Segye Ilbo reported that while Yoon was prosecutor general in March 2020, the SPO drafted internal documents for responses on four cases involving his mother-in-law, including one involving Medical Service Act violations related to a nursing hospital in Paju and another involving fraud in connection with an apartment building in Yangpyeong.

The documents contained information about the progress and outcomes in the cases, with some details that could not have been learned without someone in the prosecutors’ organization accessing their intranet, the report said.

By Shim Wu-sam, staff reporter

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