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(2nd LD) Reform-minded investigator named prosecutor-general nominee

Diplomacy 13:24 June 17, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Cheong Wa Dae's statement; ADDS photo, byline)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) -- Yoon Seok-youl, a reform-minded veteran prosecutor who played a key role in looking into high-profile scandals that occurred under the former conservative governments, has been tapped to lead South Korea's prosecution, according to Cheong Wa Dae on Monday.

The presidential office cited Yoon's "excellent leadership and resolve for reform," proven as chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

Serving as a state prosecutor for decades, he has also shown "integrity" that has not been swayed by "external pressure," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung, said in a statement.

He's expected to complete the tasks of reforming the prosecution and rebuilding it by rooting out various forms of corruption and malpractice that still exist in the country, Ko added.

Although the president was on leave, he made the decision after receiving a related report from Justice Minister Park Sang-ki at Cheong Wa Dae earlier in the day. Park formally proposed the choice of Yoon.

This undated file photo shows Yoon Seok-youl, chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, speaking at a parliamentary session. (Yonhap)

The Cabinet is scheduled to endorse the nomination, an apparent formality, on Tuesday.

If appointed, Yoon is to replace Moon Moo-il and become the first prosecutor-general with no experience of heading a high prosecutors' office since South Korea introduced fixed tenures for prosecution chiefs in 1988. Moon is scheduled to retire on July 24 after a two-year term.

The nominee is subject to a parliamentary hearing, but the nomination itself does not require lawmakers' consent.

Yoon was a core member of the special prosecutor team tasked with looking into the corruption and power abuse scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.

The nomination of Yoon came amid the liberal Moon administration's push for a readjustment, or balancing, of the power and authority of the nation's prosecution and police.

Yoon also led a probe into suspicions that the National Intelligence Service intervened in the 2012 presidential election.

He studied law at Seoul National University and became a state prosecutor in 1994, when he was 34 years old. The outgoing prosecutor-general joined the prosecution five years earlier than Yoon.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung, announces the nomination of Yoon Seok-youl, chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, as new prosecutor general on June 17, 2019. (Yonhap)


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