Photo: First Lady Kim Geon-hee (right) with President Yoon Suk-yeol. Credit: Office of the President.
Liberal parties in the National Assembly 국회 placed the “Double Special Prosecution 쌍특검” bills on the legislative fast track, setting the stage for investigations against conservative legislators and First Lady Kim Geon-hee 김건희 영부인. On April 27, a coalition of 183 legislators from the Democratic Party 민주당, the Justice Party 정의당, other center-left minor parties and independents voted to expedite review of the bills, while Assembly Members from the ruling People Power Party 국민의힘 walked out on the vote.
One of the bills would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the conservative politicians and jurists who received bribes in connection with the Daejang-dong 대장동 real estate scandal. Previously, in a dubious ruling, the Seoul Central District Court 서울중앙지방법원 previously found conservative former legislator Gwak Sang-do 곽상도, whose son received KRW 5b (USD 4m) from real estate developers, not guilty of bribery. (See previous coverage, “Daejang-dong Scandal’s Judicial Farce.”)
The other bill would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the First Lady’s involvement in a Deutsche Motors 도이치모터스 stock pump-and-dump scheme. Although other defendants involved in the scheme have already been sentenced to prison on the strength of evidence that clearly shows the involvement of Kim Geon-hee, the First Lady has yet to face any investigation. (See previous coverage, “First Lady Clearly Implicated in Stock Fraud, Still No Investigation.”)
A legislative “fast track,” which requires more than 180 out of 300 votes in the National Assembly, compels the Main Assembly 본회의 to vote on a bill within 240 days, even if the bill is not approved by a legislative committee. Going by that schedule, the “Double Special Prosecution” bills are likely to pass in December, and the special prosecution investigation will take place in the run-up to the Assembly Election 총선 in April 2024.