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Ex-defense minister arrested over alleged illegal political activities

2017/11/11 09:11

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SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- Former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin was arrested early Saturday for his alleged involvement in covert cyberactivities aimed at influencing public opinion in favor of a past conservative government.

The Seoul Central District Court issued the arrest warrant against the 68-year-old, acknowledging the probable cause and that he might flee. Kim has been charged with political interference in violation of the Military Criminal Act and abuse of power.

The court also granted a writ for Lim Kwan-bin, an ex-deputy defense minister, for similar charges and bribery, as he is suspected of taking kickbacks from one of the officials involved in the cyberoperations.

They are accused of playing key parts in military-led schemes in which their officers were assigned to post massive Internet comments to sway public opinion in favor of the Lee Myung-bak government and its policies between 2010 and 2012.

Kim headed the ministry from 2010-2014, while Lim served his term from 2011-2013.

Prosecutors believe Kim was regularly briefed on the operations by his subordinates and reported them to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

They were questioned by the prosecution last week. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Ex-Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin is shown in this photo filed on Nov. 10, 2017, as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Court for his arraignment hearing over his alleged engagement in illegal political activities. (Yonhap) Ex-Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin is shown in this photo filed on Nov. 10, 2017, as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Court for his arraignment hearing over his alleged engagement in illegal political activities. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr

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