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South Korea: Arrest warrant issued against opposition leader

South Korea: Arrest warrant issued against opposition leader
South Korea: Arrest warrant issued against opposition leader

An arrest warrant issued against the opposition leader

Published today at 10:20 a.m.

South Korean prosecutors on Monday issued an arrest warrant for corruption against South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung, who was hospitalized after 19 days of hunger strike to denounce practices according to him authoritarians of the government.

Lee Jae-myung, 58, head of the Democratic Party (DP), began his hunger strike on August 31 to denounce the government’s “incompetent and violent” policies, particularly its failure to protest Japan’s rejection of water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Lee Jae-myung, an unsuccessful presidential candidate last year, appeared pale and weakened in images broadcast by the media. He was taken to hospital early Monday, his party said.

A few hours later, the prosecution issued an arrest warrant for several charges including breach of trust and corruption. “Whether or not to fast and how to do it is a matter of personal freedom, but it should not affect the investigation or trial,” Korean Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon told Parliament.

Suspicious deaths

The Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office suspects Lee Jae-myung of having abused his authority by offering preferential treatment to a real estate developer who would have cost public authorities 20 billion won (14.1 million euros), in as part of a residential building construction project between 2014 and 2015 in Seongnam, when he was mayor of the city.


He is also suspected of having asked the Ssangbangwool Group, an underwear manufacturer, to illegally transfer $8 million to North Korea between 2019 and 2020. Then governor of Gyeonggi Province, Lee Jae-myung is said to have, according to the prosecution, wanted to contribute to a smart farms project between the province he administered and North Korea, but also to pay fees intended to facilitate his possible visit to Pyongyang.

Lee Jae-myung denies all allegations.

A court hearing can only take place if Parliament, where Lee Jae-myung’s party holds a majority, lifts his immunity.

At least five people linked to the various scandals have been found dead, some in what appear to be suicides.


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