South Korea President’s Biggest Headache Is Prosecutor He Picked
on November 12, 2019 at 2:00 am
(Bloomberg) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in — swept into office on a vow to clean up government after his predecessor was ousted for graft — wanted a prosecutor who wouldn’t hesitate to go after the most powerful.Problem is, Moon may have gotten what he wished for in Yoon Seok-youl.Almost immediately after being appointed as the nation’s chief prosecutor in July, Yoon launched a series of probes that have rocked Moon’s two-year-old administration. The scandal has forced one justice minister to resign and helped push Moon’s approval rating to a record low — just as he girds for an April parliamentary election that will shape the second half of his term.The investigations are only the latest in string of high-profile cases brought by Yoon, 58, over the years, including probes of two former presidents, a chief justice and the heads of Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. After then-President Park Geun-hye demoted Yoon, he joined the special prosecutor’s team whose findings laid the groundwork for her impeachment and removal.“I’m not loyal to anyone,” he famously told lawmakers when asked about one such probe in 2013.Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Yoon’s latest case involves a man whom Moon once predicted would make a “fantastic duo” with the chief prosecutor: Former Justice Minster Cho Kuk. Last month, Cho was forced to resign after just five weeks on the job amid investigations into whether members of his family inflated college admission applications and improperly benefited from investments in a private equity fund.While Cho has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been accused of any crimes, his wife and nephew have been indicted on various charges while his brother has been detained for questioning. Any expansion of Yoon’s probe to implicate him personally would pose problems for Moon, who decided to force through Cho’s appointment even after the investigations began. “I don’t know what allegations I’ll be charged with but it seems like the indictment against me has already been planned,” Cho wrote on his Facebook page late Monday.“Moon’s presidency was empowered by high public expectations for clean government,” said Park Sung-min, head of MIN Consulting, a political consulting firm in Seoul. If Cho “faces additional allegations related to his duty as part of the prosecutor’s probe into his family, Moon and the ruling party will receive a megablow,” he said.The investigations add a new worry for Moon on top of a slowing economy and a North Korean regime that has mocked his efforts to play a mediating role in nuclear talks with the U.S. The opposition Liberty Korea Party has drawn almost even with the ruling Democratic Party in some polls, raising the prospect that it could gain control of the National Assembly in April and stymie Moon’s agenda.Moon’s office declined to comment Monday, referring to remarks he made in Yoon’s presence Friday praising the prosecutor’s progress toward “political neutrality.” Moon said it was important to establish a fair anti-corruption system that could endure after “Yoon leaves office and regardless of who replaces him.”When announcing Yoon’s appointment, Moon praised him as “a man of integrity who’s not swayed by pressure from power.” Still, the Yonhap News Agency quoted a Moon administration official in September as saying that the investigation was on a scale that would only be necessary for “probing a conspiracy of a rebellion or completely mopping up the mafia.”The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office declined a request for comment. When asked about the investigation during a parliamentary hearing last month, Yoon vowed to follow the facts: “We prosecutors are not swayed by circumstances. We process the case only in accordance with principles and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”Yoon’s reputation for challenging authority goes back at least to his time in law school when he was forced to flee Seoul after participating in a mock trial in which he sought the death penalty against former coup-leader-turned-president Chun Doo-hwan. Back then, Yoon was known for belting out “Ave Maria” and “American Pie” in karaoke sessions, according to a person who has known him for more than 40 years.Yoon became a prosecutor at the relatively late age of 33 after failing the now-defunct annual bar exam eight times. His age and penchant for making bold speeches against powerful elites earned him the nickname “Big Brother” among his fellow prosecutors.In 2006, Yoon displayed characteristic bravado in seeking the arrest of Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo — one of the country’s most powerful corporate titans, who was later convicted and pardoned. Yoon is someone who wouldn’t let a friend get away with wrongdoing, according to the person who has known him for more than 40 years.The investigations into Cho’s family have dealt a blow to Moon’s plans to overhaul a prosecutorial system that long been seen in South Korea as a tool for the country’s political elite to suppress dissent. While Moon had hoped Yoon would help push through legislation to weaken his own office, the chief prosecutor has publicly disagreed with a key part of the plan: delegating more investigative decisions to the police.Shortly after Yoon took office, the welcome note on the Supreme Prosecutors’ website was revised to include a pledge to “always serve the public by sternly holding those who wield power accountable for their abuses and violence.”In remarks that take on new significance in light of Yoon’s subsequent investigations, Moon urged the incoming chief prosecutor in July not to shy away from inquiries involving his own administration.“I want you to be really strict, even should there be influence-peddling and corruption within my office, government or the ruling party,” he told Yoon. “Thankfully, unlike the past, there hasn’t been a big, contemptible corruption case within my office, government or the ruling party yet.”(Adds comment from Cho in seventh paragraph.)\–With assistance from Jihye Lee.To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Pae at firstname.lastname@example.org;Brendan Scott at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
UPDATE 1-U.S. condemns latest Hong Kong violence, urges both sides to de-escalate
on November 12, 2019 at 1:10 am
The United States on Monday condemned “unjustified use of deadly force” in the latest Hong Kong violence and urged police and civilians alike to de-escalate the situation, a senior Trump administration official said. “Hong Kong police and civilians alike have a responsibility to de-escalate and avoid violent confrontations,” the U.S. administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, after a weekend of stepped-up clashes in pro-democracy protests across the Chinese-ruled territory, a former British colony. Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 with a mandate for “one country, two systems,” which allows Hong Kong wide-ranging freedoms not available on the mainland.
Former CEC TN Seshan’s mortal remains consigned to flames
on November 11, 2019 at 11:46 pm
Seshan has left behind a rich legacy for the Commission and will continue to inspire us at the EC.
2nd militant shot dead in J&K’s Bandipore firefight
on November 11, 2019 at 11:39 pm
While one militant was killed on Sunday itself, his accomplice was gunned down on Monday morning.
Uber, Lyft say proposed California ballot measure is a good deal for drivers. Economists disagree
on November 11, 2019 at 11:33 pm
Battle in California over the future of app-based services could have ramifications for the rest of the nation.
Hong Kong police shoot at protester in fresh unrest
on November 11, 2019 at 6:33 pm
The chaos in Hong Kong started early on Monday when demonstrators, still angry after the first protest-related death on Friday, moved to disrupt the morning commute. A scuffle ensued outside a subway station in which a police officer shot a protester at point blank, all of which was caught on a video that went viral within moments. He’s currently in intensive care.
Bankers in $220 billion scandal offered gold to hide client cash
on November 11, 2019 at 6:27 pm
Danske Bank, which is being investigated after failing to screen about $220 billion that gushed through its non-resident unit in Estonia from 2007 to 2015, has now shuttered the operations at the heart of the scandal.
Donald Trump faces perilous test as impeachment hearings open
on November 11, 2019 at 6:26 pm
Having survived special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump now faces potential removal from office for pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. The hearings begin on Wednesday in the House Intelligence Committee.
Iran downgrades new oil find to just 22 bn barrels
on November 11, 2019 at 6:21 pm
President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday announced the discovery of a field containing 53 billion barrels of oil in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, saying it was a “small gift by the government to the people of Iran.”
Just 3 companies show up for NHAI’s toll-operate-transfer-3 auctions
on November 11, 2019 at 6:20 pm
NHAI had in June this year invited bids for the third bundle of toll-operate-transfer auctions, looking to raise a minimum of Rs 4,995 crore. While the names of the companies that have submitted bids due on Monday are not yet known, officials said leading infrastructure players such as Adani, Cube Highways, IRB Infrastructure and L&T could be among the bidders.
Use of locum doctors rising despite limited evidence on quality and safety
on November 12, 2019 at 1:47 am
There is little hard evidence to support the widely held perception that locum doctors present a greater risk of causing harm to patients.
Fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled heroin
on November 12, 2019 at 1:47 am
A state-of-the-art fingerprint detection technology can identify traces of heroin on human skin, even after someone has washed their hands — and it is also smart enough to tell whether an individual has used the drug or shaken hands with someone who has handled it.
Lower IQ, family history tied to treatment-resistant schizophrenia
on November 12, 2019 at 1:47 am
Those with a family history of schizophrenia and men with lower IQ are more likely to struggle with treatment resistant schizophrenia than others with the mental disorder, according to a new study. The researchers say the findings could be important in efforts to design novel drug treatments that improve cognition.
Associations between childhood maltreatment and offending behaviors later in life
on November 12, 2019 at 1:47 am
Children who experience maltreatment, such as neglect or physical or sexual abuse, are more likely to engage in delinquent and offending behaviors in adolescence and young adulthood, according to a new study.
UK teen almost died from severe lung failure linked to vaping
on November 11, 2019 at 11:30 pm
Doctors treating a teenager in the UK for severe lung failure say it was likely caused by an allergic reaction to e-cigarettes
Toby Carvery now delivers Sunday roasts straight to your door
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Lydia Veljanovski) on November 11, 2019 at 11:09 pm
Restaurant chain Toby Carvery have joined Just Eat so you can enjoy a delicious British roast without all the hassle.
Why did the Queen wear five poppies, and Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle not?
by email@example.com (Lydia Veljanovski) on November 11, 2019 at 10:50 pm
Find out the reason why the Queen wore five poppies on Sunday, whereas Camilla wore three, and Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle had on different brooches.
I’m A Celebrity 2019: Who is Nadine Coyle? Inside her job, family and net worth
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Samuel McManus) on November 11, 2019 at 10:48 pm
Nadine Coyle is just one of the stars heading Down Under for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
I’m a Celebrity 2019: Who is Jacqueline Jossa? Inside her job, family and net worth
by email@example.com (Lydia Veljanovski) on November 11, 2019 at 10:45 pm
Actress and mother Jacqueline Jossa is entering the I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! jungle. But who exactly is the star and why is she famous?
How to Hold Onto a Deadlift Bar
by Beth Skwarecki on November 11, 2019 at 9:00 pm
Deadlifts are a great way to work almost half the muscles in your body—your hamstrings and back especially. But if you can’t hold onto the bar, it’s hard to benefit. Here are a few tips especially for deadlift newbies about how to make sure your hands aren’t your weakest link. Read more…