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Prosecution was independent under ex-President Lee: chief prosecutor

At a parliamentary audit Thursday, Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl said the prosecution was independent during former President Lee Myung-bak’s administration.
Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl (Yonhap)
Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl (Yonhap)

Asked by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee to pick the government’s -- of Moon Jae-in, Park Geun-hye and Lee -- that most favored an independent prosecution, Yoon singled out Lee’s term.

“When Lee was president, I served as director at the prosecution’s special investigation unit,” he said. “There wasn’t much interference when we arrested his older brother and closest aides.”

In 2012, the prosecution indicted Lee’s brother and former vice trade minister on corruption charges.

Yoon didn’t refer to the prosecution’s independence during former President Park’s tenure. At the time, he was demoted when he revealed the government’s undue influence over the online opinion rigging case involving her spy agency.

He also dismissed claims that the prosecution allowed favorable terms to Chung Kyung-sim, the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, who was summoned earlier on charges of forging an admission document for her daughter’s acceptance into medical school.

She was let through a backdoor to the prosecution for questioning, against the much-expected routine that high-profile figures address reporters before passing through the front door.

“However people may judge from outside, the prosecution gave a lot of thought to how we should go through the summons,” Yoon said.

The chief prosecutor further promised a speedy probe into corruption allegations targeting Cho’s family. “The principle here is that we close every investigation as early as possible, and the same goes for Cho.”

By Choi Si-young (