President selects four ‘assistants’ to independent counsel

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President selects four ‘assistants’ to independent counsel

President Park Geun-hye on Monday appointed four “assistant prosecutors” to support the independent counsel in the special investigation team into her political scandal.

The four appointees, all of whom currently work as private lawyers, were selected from eight candidates recommended by Park Young-soo, 64, the independent counsel and leader of the special investigation team.

Three previously worked as prosecutors and one was a judge — together with the independent counsel, the five will form the core of the team.

Park Choong-kun, 60, formerly served as head of the Daegu District Public Prosecutors’ West Office and is now a senior lawyer at the law firm L.K.B & Partners in Seocho District, southern Seoul.

Park worked for many years in the prosecution’s Violent Crime Department and was involved in a special investigation into whether the government funneled $400 million to North Korea in 2000 to get the regime to agree to an inter-Korean summit.

He was born in Seoul and graduated from Konkuk University.

Lee Yong-bok, 55, led a criminal investigation department at the Seoul Nambu District Public Prosecutors’ Office before leaving the prosecution to open his own law office.

He worked in the special investigation team that looked into the cyber attack on the National Election Commissions’ homepage during the October 2011 by-elections.

Lee was born in Daegu, President Park’s birthplace, and graduated from Dongguk University.

Yang Jae-sik, 51, is a senior lawyer at the law firm Gangnam LLP in Seocho District, the same workplace as Park Young-soo, the independent counsel. He previously was a chief prosecutor at the Seoul Nambu District Public Prosecutors’ Office.

He played a key role in the probe targeting Lone Star Funds’ controversial acquisition of the Korea Exchange Bank in 2003.

Yang was born in Gimje, North Jeolla, and graduated from Seoul National University.

Lee Kyu-chul, 52, is a former judge who now oversees the civil litigation department of the law firm DR & AJU in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

Lee is best known for his prowess on tax-related laws. He was born in Daegu and graduated from Korea University.

Park Young-soo, the independent counsel, will have four “assistant prosecutors” supporting the special investigation team along with 20 other prosecutors and 40 investigators dispatched from the prosecution.

The team, all told, will have 105 members, including Park, which is to be the largest independent counsel in Korea.

Starting Wednesday, Park has 20 days to prepare and 70 days to investigate before deciding whether or not the president committed a crime and should be prosecuted. He can extend the probe by 30 days but needs approval from the president.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, MOON BYUNG-JOO [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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