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President names special counsel to investigate opinion rigging scandal

All Headlines 17:41 June 07, 2018

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in appointed a special counsel Thursday to investigate a opinion rigging scandal that involves one of his confidants.

The president named prosecutor-turned-lawyer Huh Ik-Bum as a special prosecutor, Moon's office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The appointment came three days after Huh was named one of two candidates by opposition parties as required by the law on the special counsel.

The National Assembly passed a bill on the appointment of a special counsel last month to investigate allegations that a blogger, nicknamed Druking, manipulated online comments to create public opinion favorable to the president and his ruling bloc.

No link between the president and the suspect has been established but the suspect claims to have been instructed to rig online opinions by a former ruling party lawmaker and close confidant of Moon, Kim Kyoung-soo, who is now running for governor of South Gyeongsang Province.

Kim has admitted to having met the blogger on several occasions, but has denied any prior knowledge of opinion rigging attempts.

The appointment of the special, independent prosecutor comes despite an ongoing investigation by the prosecution as the opposition parties have long claimed the prosecution may not have the will to investigate the politically sensitive scandal.

The special prosecutor now has up to 90 days to investigate the case.

The rival parties have agreed to allow the special prosecutor to have up to 80 people, including 13 incumbent state prosecutors, to assist in the investigation.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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