Swift arrest of prosecutor in raunchy case

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Swift arrest of prosecutor in raunchy case

Prosecutors came down hard on a fellow prosecutor accused of having sex with a criminal suspect he was investigating in a theft case by arresting him Saturday without warrant on charges of accepting a bribe.

The swift arrest of the 30-year-old neophyte investigator surnamed Jeon from the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office marks the first time in nine years that a prosecutor was arrested without a warrant.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday it arrested Jeon without a warrant around 5 p.m. Saturday for having accepted bribes in the form of sex with the suspect during questioning in his office on Nov. 10 and at a motel Nov. 13.

The inspection team said it decided to proceed with the arrest before seeking a warrant because Jeon “could destroy evidence and flee.” Jeon was immediately put in the Seoul Detention Center on Saturday.

Investigators requested an arrest warrant from the Seoul Central District Court yesterday evening.

The female in the case, who is surnamed Yoon, was accused of 16 counts of stealing from department stores and stealing goods worth around 4.5 million won ($4,145). Jeon was in charge of the case.

Working as a trainee prosecutor, Jeon is a first-generation graduate of the country’s law school system, which was implemented in 2009. Jeon was assigned as a prosecutor at the Gwangju District Prosecutors’ Officce in March and has been participating in a three-month training program in Seoul.

During initial questioning by the inspection team, Jeon admitted to having sex with Yoon but insisted it was consensual. He said he did not plan on letting the sex interfere in his investigation of Yoon.

Investigators are looking for evidence that Jeon extorted the sex out of Yoon with promises to help her in her case.

Investigators are also reportedly questioning Jeon over the nature of a settlement made between him and Yoon.

Jeon paid 50 million won ($46,000) in settlement money to Yoon. He told investigators she demanded it. Reportedly, Yoon said Jeon offered the money to keep her quiet.

“Jeon had to acknowledge having sex with Yoon as we told him Yoon secretly recorded him at a motel on Nov. 10,” said Jung Chul-seung, Yoon’s lawyer, at a press briefing yesterday. “Yoon should not be charged with providing a bribe [in the form of sex] to Jeon as she is the victim of Jeon’s sexual assault.”

If convicted on the bribery charge, Jeon could face up to five years in prison or a 10-year suspension from government service.

The prosecution was already reeling from another graft case implicating senior prosecutor Kim Gwang-jun. Kim was arrested on Nov. 19 on charges of taking about 970 million won in bribes from Eugene Group and Cho Hee-pal, a pyramid scheme con man, in return for covering up their irregularities.

By Kang Jin-kyu, Jeong Won-yeop [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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