Sex-with-suspect case snowballing

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Sex-with-suspect case snowballing

The case of a junior prosecutor who allegedly had sex with a suspect he was investigating in a theft case keeps embarrassing the prosecution.

Late Monday, the Seoul Central District Court rejected a request to issue an arrest warrant against the junior prosecutor, who is surnamed Jeon, saying it disagreed with the charge of bribery against him.

“Bribery charges applied in the case are questionable,” the court said, “and thus a need to detain the suspect isn’t reasonable.”

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said Sunday it arrested Jeon, 30, without a warrant Saturday for having accepted bribes in the form of sex with a theft suspect during questioning in his office on Nov. 10 and at a motel Nov. 13. The 43-year-old female in the case, who is surnamed Yoon, was accused of 15 counts of stealing from department stores and stealing goods worth around 4.5 million won ($4,145). Jeon was in charge of investigating the case.

Some prosecutors in Suwon, Gyeonggi, held an emergency meeting Monday night and said the resignation of Prosecutor General Han Sang-dae might be required to get beyond the scandal.

“Some prosecutors in the meeting insisted that there are no options [but Han’s resignation],” a prosecutor from the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office who participated in the meeting said.

“Some aggressive prosecutors insisted that all high-ranking officials of the prosecution must step down from their positions.”

The inspection department of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday it refiled its request for the warrant to arrest Jeon after sending six MP3 audio files to the Seoul Central District Court that will back up its assertion that Jeon demanded sex from Yoon to go easier on her in his investigation. Yoon made the recordings at Jeon’s office and at a motel.

“We can’t reveal details of the MP3 files because we’re still reviewing them but we found dialogue from the motel talking about the theft case,” Ahn Byeong-ik, chief of an inspection department of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, told reporters. “Jeon also indicated that he could help her in reaching a compromise.”

The prosecution defends its charge of accepting a bribe against Jeon, saying there’s a precedent in a case in 2004 in which the Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant to detain a police officer who was suspected of having sex with a suspect in return for covering up a case. The prosecution generally categorizes such cases as adultery.

By Lee Dong-hyun, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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