Chief prosecutor to probe Jin case

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Chief prosecutor to probe Jin case

The prosecutor general has named a chief prosecutor of a district prosecutors’ office to take charge of the investigation into Jin Kyung-joon, the former senior prosecutor accused of insider trading.

Prosecutor generals have in the past named prosecutors to take charge of certain investigations, but this is the first time a prosecutor general has named a chief prosecutor to head an investigation, indicating the significance of the case.

The news that Jin sold his shares of the gaming company Nexon at 12.6 billion won ($10.8 million) last year spread quickly after the Government Public Ethics Committee discovered it in March. It is suspected that Jin took advantage of his relations with Nexon stakeholders in order to make an extraordinary profit.

From 2002 to 2004, Jin worked at the Financial Intelligence Unit, which operates under the Financial Services Commission. Jin says he bought 8,537 Nexon shares in 2005, when they were unlisted, with his own money.

Nexon came forward earlier this month saying it lent Jin some 400 million won to buy the unlisted shares. Nexon’s co-founder, Kim Jung-ju, reportedly ordered the company to lend the money at the time not only to Jin but to two other people including Naver CEO Kim Sang-hun.

In 2011, the number of shares expanded due to a stock split when Nexon stocks were registered on the Japanese stock market.

When Jin sold the stocks at 12.6 billion won in 2015, he made some 12 billion won in profit.

Although Jin denied violating the law, he submitted his resignation when the government launched its probe in April.

The presidential office called for a thorough investigation, and the Ministry of Justice subsequently refused to accept his resignation.

“Prosecutor General Kim Soo-nam named Chief Prosecutor of Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office Lee Keum-ro as the head prosecutor to investigate the case on Jin Kyung-joon,” said a spokesman of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office. “The prosecutor general has concluded that the case needs a thorough investigation after having examined the relevant documents and witnessed the impact of the case on the people.”

Taking over the case from Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday, Lee will be granted full control and authority over the investigation and will report directly to the prosecutor general.

In 2010, Kang Chan-woo, then-senior official of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office, was named by a prosecutor general to investigate a prosecutor who accepted a Hyundai Grandeur and some 46 million won from a defendant in return for a favorable ruling on a case.

In 2011, a prosecutor general named Lee Chang-jae, then-head of Ansan branch of Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office, to investigate a female prosecutor who accepted a Mercedes-Benz car, a Chanel bag and other gifts from a male lawyer.

And in 2012, a prosecutor general named Kim Soo-chang, then-member of the Institute of Justice, to take over a case involving a prosecutor who accepted bribes from Cho Hee-pal, a famous con artist.

BY SEO BOK-HYEON [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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