Prosecutor accused of abusing power for starlet

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Prosecutor accused of abusing power for starlet

A prosecutor at the Chuncheon District Prosecutors’ Office was arrested yesterday for allegedly helping a celebrity settle disputes with a plastic surgery clinic by abusing his power.

The two first met when the prosecutor took part in an investigation in 2012 over allegations that Lee Yoon-ji - better known as her stage name Amy - illegally possessed and used propofol.

Propofol is a powerful anesthetic and memory-loss agent that can kill in overdoses.

Lee told the accused prosecutor that she had been a victim of medical malpractice and was seeking damages, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said.

The 37-year-old man, identified by his surname Jeon, pressed a doctor at the clinic and managed to receive the establishment’s approval to let Lee undergo another operation.

He also collected some 15 million won ($14,100) from the clinic on her behalf, which he gave to the 32-year-old TV personality.

The prosecutor’s alleged involvement means he could be charged with violating the laws that dictate ethical codes and conduct for legal professionals. He could also possibly be charged with blackmail.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office has sought a warrant to detain Jeon for further questioning.

What caused him to step in is still not clear, but the prosecutor reportedly claims he did so “out of sympathy.” The prosecution will look into whether there were any underhanded dealings or circumstances that might have led him to use his influence to Lee’s advantage.

Last year, Lee was sentenced to up to eight months in prison and two years of probation for illegally using propofol. The court also ordered her to complete 40 hours of community service and 24 hours of a medical lecture course.

At the time, the court explained that Lee “experienced heavy guilt since her dependence on propofol has clearly been acknowledged and her social influence is huge.”

Lee was investigated over charges that she was illegally using propofol in 2012, after she collapsed in a nail parlor in Gangnam District, in southern Seoul. An intravenous needle was stuck in her arm and propofol vials were found in her handbag.

The TV personality has denied any sort of inappropriate relationship with the prosecutor.

Concerns over prosecutors’ misconduct surfaced when a prosecutor in training was accused of engaging in sexual acts with a female suspect in his office during an interrogation last year. The prosecutor allegedly promised to clear her of charges in exchange for the acts. The incident came to light after the woman tipped off her lawyer, who then confronted the prosecutor in charge of supervising the trainee.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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