Prosecutors indict 13 ruling camp figures over election-meddling scandal

Jan 30, 2020, 09:30 am

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By AsiaToday reporter Heo Gyeong-joon

Prosecutors have indicted 13 people, including Baek Won-woo, former presidential secretary for civil affairs, Ulsan Mayor Song Cheol-ho, former Ulsan police chief Hwang Un-ha, and Park Hyeong-chul, former presidential secretary for anti-corruption, as part of a probe into the presidential office’s alleged meddling in the 2018 Ulsan mayoral election. 

Many observers claim that the prosecution is waging an all-out war on Cheong Wa Dae by indicting more than a dozen pro-government figures involved in the election-meddling scandal ahead of a large reshuffle set to go into effect Feb. 3. 

An investigation team at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office said Wednesday it has indicted former presidential secretary Baek Won-woo and several former Cheong Wa Dae officials on charges of violating election law, and will wrap up its probe into allegations involving other suspects in stages.

According to the prosecution, the Ulsan Mayor requested former Ulsan chief Hwang to carry out an investigation into former Ulsan Mayor Kim Gi-hyeon in September 2017. Former Ulsan Vice Mayor Song Byeong-gi provided tipoff to a former Cheong Wa Dae official surnamed Moon, in October 2017. 

The prosecution believes that Moon further fabricated the tipoff and then Baek delivered it to the National Police Agency and the Ulsan Metropolitan Police Agency via former presidential secretary Park Hyeong-chul in the end of 2017.

Hwang is accused of affecting the outcome of the election by carrying out a probe into alleged corruption by aides to Kim Gi-hyeon, then mayor of Ulsan, and replacing an investigation team of police officers who gave a lukewarm response to the investigation into Kim Gi-hyeon. 

According to the prosecution investigation, Mayor Song and Ulsan Deputy Mayor Song Byeong-gi asked former presidential senior official Jang Hwan-seok in October 2017 to delay the announcement of a preliminary government review regarding the construction of a hospital specializing in labor accidents, one of the pledges that Kim Gi-hyeon, while pushing to build a hospital for the public. Jang accepted to postpone the provision of internal information involving the hospital as well as the announcement of the preliminary government review. 

It has been confirmed that Han Byung-do, former senior secretary for political affairs, offered Lim Dong-ho, a then-senior DPK member and Song’s rival, a post of a public office in return for giving up his mayoral bid. 

#prosecution #election-meddling #Ulsan mayoral election #indict 
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