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(LEAD) Moon's justice minister nominee withdraws

All News 21:21 June 16, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details)

SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in's nominee to be justice minister withdrew from consideration on Friday amid brewing controversy over his alleged ethical lapses, a Cheong Wa Dae official said.

About his decision, Ahn Kyong-whan said he did not want to stand in the way of the president's efforts to reform the nation's prosecution, according to the presidential office.

Ahn, a law professor and former chief of the state human rights watchdog, was tapped Sunday to be the country's next justice minister. He was subject to a confirmation hearing.

He immediately came under fire for his writings on gender equality and other records, including drunk driving, that aroused doubts about his qualifications. In particular, his fraudulent marriage registration in 1975 dealt a serious blow to his nomination.

Ahn was found to have registered a marriage certificate in his 20s with the forged legal seal of his then-girlfriend without her consent. The record was later nullified by a court.

He admitted to his past misdeeds and offered an apology but failed to calm public criticism.

"I am pulling out of consideration for the position as I shouldn't be an obstacle to the Moon Jae-in government's reform drive," Ahn was quoted as saying by presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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