The prosecution has expressed deep regret over a court decision to deny a pretrial detention warrant for main opposition Democratic Party(DP) Chair Lee Jae-myung.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday issued a statement on the ruling about 90 minutes after the Seoul Central District Court rejected the prosecution’s warrant request for Lee on breach of trust, bribery and other charges.
The prosecution said that although the court acknowledged the charge of inciting perjury has been proven and there are considerable suspicions that Lee was involved in the scandal-ridden Baekhyeon-dong development, it decided that there is room for dispute with Lee’s charges based on testimonies by Lee Hwa-young.
The prosecution said that the statement by the former vice governor of Gyeonggi Province and Lee’s key aide recognized the DP chief’s involvement in the illegal money transfer to North Korea, and the court’s decision is therefore difficult to understand and deeply regrettable.
The state agency contended that the court’s acknowledgement that the incitement of perjury was proven is demonstrative of Lee tampering with evidence, and the conclusion that there are no concerns about the destruction of evidence is therefore contradictory.
The prosecution then vowed to continue to conduct additional investigations to uncover the truth in accordance with laws and principles.
The statement came after the court denied the warrant request early on Wednesday, saying that it is difficult to recognize the need to put Lee behind bars in consideration of his right to defense and the risk of destruction of evidence.
The court said that the risk that the opposition chief will destroy evidence has not reached the level needed to supersede the principle of investigation and trial without detention.