Crime & Justice

South Korea’s parliament rejects opposition leader’s arrest

Seoul, Feb 27 (EFE).- South Korea’s lawmakers narrowly voted Monday against the arrest of the main opposition party leader, Lee Jae-myung, who is accused of corruption.

Of the 299 lawmakers, 139 voted against the government’s request for consent to arrest Lee compared to 138 who voted in favor, while nine abstained and 11 votes were deemed invalid.

With Lee’s Democratic Party holding 169 seats, a clear majority over the ruling People Power Party’s 115, the result of the vote shows that many in his party voted in favor of the motion.

On Feb. 16, the South Korean prosecutor’s office requested an arrest warrant for Lee over his alleged involvement in a bribery case in a city of which he was mayor between 2010 and 2018.

The prosecution suspect that Lee is linked to allegations that the government of Seongnam, located south of Seoul, attracted some 17 billion won ($12.87 million) in corporate donations between 2016 and 2018 to Seongnam FC – a professional football club owned by the city – in exchange for administrative favors, local news agency Yonhap reported.

Lee has claimed he is innocent and called the investigation “politically motivated.”

Under South Korean law, a lawmaker’s arrest requires parliamentary approval.

With the rejection of the arrest motion, prosecutors are expected to indict Lee without placing him in detention. EFE


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