Corruption Investigation Office Notches Its First Court Victory

Close ally of Yoon Suk-yeol was sentenced to one year in prison.

Corruption Investigation Office Notches Its First Court Victory

Photo: Son Jun-seong makes his court appearance. Credit: News1.

Prosecutor who is a close ally of President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 대통령 was found guilty of colluding with right-wing civic groups. On February 1, the Seoul Central District Court 서울중앙지방법원 sentenced High Prosecutor Son Jun-seong 손준성 고등검사 to one year in prison for leaking confidential investigative information to right-wing civic groups and urging them to file criminal charges against liberal politicians and pundits ahead of the 2020 General Election. The court found that Son’s actions were “a flagrant violation of the prosecutor’s duty of political neutrality.”

Son’s conviction is the first victory for the Corruption Investigation Office for High-Ranking Officials 고위공직자 범죄 수사처, an agency established by the Moon Jae-in 문재인 administration in 2021 to address criticisms that the Public Prosecutors’ Office 검찰청 interfered in politics by indicting (or declining to indict) politicians, while soft-pedaling prosecutions of allies. The CIO lost its first two trials, also against prosecutors.

The conviction adds to the pressure on President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 and People Power Party leader Han Dong-hun 한동훈, both of whom were ranking prosecutors for Son in 2019. Son was known to be a close associate of Yoon, then the Supreme Prosecutor 검찰총장, and the criminal charges proposed by Son in the case under discussion were for criminal defamation against Yoon, Han, and Yoon’s wife Kim Geon-hee 김건희. 

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