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Top court to reveal controversial documents related to scandal involving ex-chief

All Headlines 11:41 June 05, 2018

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will disclose controversial documents related to a ballooning scandal sparked by allegations that its former chief justice used trials as leverage to gain presidential approval for organizational changes.

Justice Ahn Chul-sang, head of the National Court Administration (NCA) under the top court, said in a statement to media that some 98 documents that were cited in a recent internal probe will be released, without disclosing the names of the persons mentioned.

The inquiry found that the NCA wrote about 410 documents in March 2015 on how to take advantage of high-profile cases so as to persuade senior presidential aides to support then-Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae's plan to establish a court of appeals.

The agency's officials are alleged to have communicated frequently with then-President Park Geun-hye's aides and influential politicians over cases, such as those involving an opposition lawmaker, a former spy chief and a left-wing teachers' union.

Yang denied the accusations last Friday and said there was no unfair interference in trials and that he never used them for bargaining. He also denied any disadvantage was meted out to judges who opposed his proposal to set up a court of appeals.

Current Supreme Court Chief Kim Meong-su apologized to the public last week over the allegations. He signaled that the court could take action to criminally punish those involved, possibly including Yang.

The judicial circle has shown mixed responses to the scandal. Junior judges from Seoul and regional district courts have called for a thorough investigation into the allegations, while senior judges from higher courts have called for prudence and opposed the opening of a probe.

This graphic image shows former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae (L) on June 4, 2018. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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