Cho Kuk indicted for power abuse

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Cho Kuk indicted for power abuse

Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk was indicted Friday over his suspected role in ending an inspection into bribery allegations involving a former Busan vice mayor.

The Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office said it has indicted Cho, who had served as senior secretary to President Moon Jae-in for civil affairs from 2017 till 2019, on charges of power abuse.

The prosecutors’ office said Cho, while he was working for the Blue House, inappropriately ordered the suspension of an inspection into former Busan Vice Mayor Yoo Jae-soo, obstructing the inspection activities and breaching the inspection and human resources authority of the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Prosecutors have been looking into suspicions that presidential officials deliberately closed an inquiry into bribery allegations against the former Busan vice mayor.

Yoo, former deputy mayor of economic affairs in the southeastern port city, was indicted and detained for accepting bribes worth 49.5 million won ($42,700) during his term at the state financial regulator FSC.

While Yoo was under surveillance by the Blue House’s special inspection team in 2017, supervised by then-civil affairs office chief Cho, he avoided punishment despite suspected bribery.

In 2018, Yoo became Busan’s vice mayor.

The development raised suspicions that some presidential officials may have engaged in a cover-up of the bribery case.

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