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‘Arrest me’: Legally troubled opposition leader vows to fight head onBy Kim Arin
Published : June 19, 2023 - 16:12
The leader of South Korea’s main opposition party Rep. Lee Jae-myung, who is currently involved in several criminal trials, said Monday he will not shun the prosecution’s supposed bid to “come after” him and “willingly face” arrest.
Lee’s remarks, delivered during the National Assembly plenary session, come after the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea-controlled Assembly already struck down his arrest warrant bill in February.
Over the course of the 21st Assembly's term, the arrest warrant bills for 4 out of 5 Democratic Party lawmakers were voted down. By comparison, both of the ruling People Power Party lawmakers saw their arrest warrant bills passed.
As South Korean law protects incumbent lawmakers from being arrested, a court must obtain the Assembly’s consent before it can review an arrest warrant.
Lee, who resisted his possible arrest in what he called Yoon’s “maneuvering to eliminate a political rival,” said in a U-turn from his previous stance at Monday’s Assembly session that he would “willingly face” the pre-arrest warrant interrogation.
“I would give up my immunity from arrest as a lawmaker in face of the political investigations pending against me,” he said.
Lee is under investigation over corruption controversies dating back to his terms as Seongnam mayor and Gyeonggi Province governor from 2013 to 2018.
He is accused of allowing close associates and private developers to illicitly profit from a public real estate project while he helmed the municipal offices. In a separate trial, he is accused of collecting money in the name of sponsorship from companies for a city-owned soccer team in exchange for building permits.
Lee has continued to claim his innocence, decrying the accusations as “politically manipulated.”
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