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Former reporter arrested in blackmail case involving key aide to chief prosecutor

All News 21:46 July 17, 2020

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- A former TV reporter was arrested Friday in an alleged blackmail case involving a key aide to the prosecutor general.

The Seoul District Court accepted the prosecution's request to issue a warrant for the arrest of Lee Dong-jae, a fired reporter of cable network Channel A, on attempted extortion charges.

Lee is suspected of using his close ties with ranking prosecutor Han Dong-hoon, a close associate of Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, to blackmail a jailed financier into leaking allegedly corrupt acts by a pro-government commentator.

The inmate claimed that the former reporter pressed him by sharing the voice recording of a conversation between the reporter and the prosecutor Han. The prosecution is said to be using the recording made on Feb. 13 as key evidence to prove the collusion allegation.

The reporter denied the accusation.

Earlier this month, the case served as a flash point between Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae and the prosecutor general as the two displayed a vastly different approach as to how to investigate the sensitive case involving an incumbent prosecutor.

On July 2, Choo issued a rare directive ordering Yoon to stay away from the case, given his ties with Han, and to guarantee independence to a probe team in charge of the case.

Her order came following the Supreme Prosecutors Office's move to convene an advisory panel to review the case, which critics argued was a deliberate scheme to deter the ongoing probe.

A week later, the chief prosecutor backed down to accept the directive and take his hands off the sensitive case.
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