Kim Hak-eui probe to focus on Yun’s bribery

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Kim Hak-eui probe to focus on Yun’s bribery

After a court dismissed a detention warrant request for Yun Jung-cheon, a key figure implicated in the sex scandal surrounding former Deputy Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui, prosecutors said they will continue to investigate Yun’s alleged bribery of Kim, a charge whose statute of limitations may not have expired yet.

Yun was arrested last Wednesday at his daughter’s house in Seocho District, southern Seoul, on charges of aggravated fraud and aggravated influence-peddling. He was taken to the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning. Prosecutors on Thursday requested a local court issue a detention warrant on Yun, focusing on Yun’s personal allegations regarding aggravated fraud and aggravated influence-peddling. The court dismissed the request on Friday.

Yun is alleged to have demanded 500 million won ($440,330) from a businessman accused of embezzlement in return for helping him cover up the case by speaking to a prosecutor Yun knew in 2012. That prosecutor was allegedly Kim, who was stationed at the Gwangju High Prosecutors’ Office at the time.

On the allegation of aggravated fraud, prosecutors said they received testimony from employees of a construction company Yun formerly helmed that claimed Yun embezzled an “enormous” amount of corporate money and used it personally. Yun was fired in May 2018. There are other charges against Yun, including bribery and sex-related crimes, that are more closely related to the probe into Kim.

Prior to Yun’s warrant hearing on Friday, Yun’s lawyer told the press that the charges laid out against Yun in the request for warrant concerned “issues separate [to the investigations central on Kim]” and that the prosecutors were “trying to first keep Yun detained under these charges and then grill him regarding the major case [related to Kim].”

The court dismissed the request for a detention warrant on Yun on Friday night, stating that it did not see a reason to keep Yun detained for more than the 48 hours granted following his immediate arrest regarding the alleged aggravated fraud and aggravated influence-peddling.

Kim served as deputy justice minister for just six days in the Park Geun-hye administration in March 2013. He resigned over allegations that he attended a number of parties thrown by a contractor who hired women to have sex with high-profile figures to gain business favors. That contractor was Yun. The scandal evolved into a drug-and-rape case when a woman claimed she was drugged, raped and videotaped by Kim and Yun. Prosecutors opened a probe at the time but later dropped it, citing a lack of evidence. A special commission under the Justice Ministry, which launched after the Moon government came into power in 2017, reopened it recently.

When Yun was questioned in 2013, he denied any links to Kim. Yun, however, is said to have changed his stance when he was recently called in by prosecutors, saying he gave Kim money and other valuables, though it’s not known when or for what reason.

BY KIM KI-JEONG, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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