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Justice ministry fires two ranking prosecutors over cash scandal

All News 13:47 June 16, 2017

SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- The Ministry of Justice dismissed two ranking prosecutors from their posts Friday over their inappropriate acts at a controversial dinner that involved exchanges of cash.

The ministry's disciplinary committee approved the decision by its internal probe team to remove Lee Young-ryeol, former chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, and Ahn Tae-geun, ex-deputy minister for criminal affairs, from their current positions.

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office said it has indicted Lee on charges of violating the anti-graft law.

They were demoted while they were being investigated by the ministry's inspection division over a dinner that they had with lower-level officials. In late April, Lee and Ahn went to dinner with their subordinates, where each offered envelopes with up to 1 million won (US$880) to each other's underlings.

The incident was put under scrutiny since it involved prosecutors who were investigating a scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye. Lee had been in charge of the special probe team leading Park's case and Ahn is known to be close to a former presidential aide and a key figure in the scandal.

Early this month, the ministry's inspection team requested the dismissal of Lee and Ahn as punishment for their wrongdoings. The decision came about three weeks after President Moon Jae-in ordered the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Prosecutors' Office to look into the incident.

Lee and Ahn both claimed earlier that the money was not intended to elicit any favors in return but was a sort of customary incentive.

Under local law, a dismissed prosecutor is banned from working as a lawyer for two years.

This image, dated June 7, 2017, shows Lee Young-ryeol (L), the former chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, and Ahn Tae-geun, the ex-deputy minister for criminal affairs. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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