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Ruling party calls for special counsel probe into judiciary's alleged power abuse

All Headlines 11:27 June 01, 2018

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling party on Friday raised the need for a special counsel investigation into allegations that the judiciary under the previous conservative government abused its power.

The Supreme Court under then-Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae is alleged to have sought to use politically sensitive trials as bargaining chips in its dealings with the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae over organizational changes.

An internal probe showed that the National Court Administration under the top court wrote a report in March 2015 on how to use high-profile cases in persuading senior presidential aides to then-President Park Geun-hye into supporting Yang's bid to establish a court of appeals.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) likened the case to an influence peddling scandal that led to the ousting of Park last year.

"Along with parliamentary investigation, a special prosecutor should be appointed to reveal the judiciary's alleged wrongdoings," Choo Mi-ae, the chief of the DP, said.

"The case can be seen as a scandal that rattles the basis of the judiciary. A probe into Yang should be conducted in a stern manner," she added.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su expressed regret over the case Thursday, adding that he could consider taking criminal action against those involved in the wrongdoing.

The agency's officials are suspected of having communicated frequently with Park's aides and influential politicians over cases such as those involving a liberal opposition lawmaker, a former spy chief and the progressive teachers' union.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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