Prosecutors said on Thursday that three former ministers from South Korea’s previous administration of President Moon Jae-in were indicted on charges of abusing their power to force state agency heads to resign.
The “blacklist scandal” was the subject of an investigation by the Seoul Eastern Prosecutors’ Office.
Allegations that the Moon administration had forced the resignations of several state agency heads who had been chosen by the previous Park Geun-Hye administration were at the center of the discussion.
The three first ministers of the Moon administration were Paik Un-gyu, a former industry minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, a former unification minister, and You Young-min, a former minister of information and communications technology.
The prosecution office also indicted two former presidential officials, Cho Hyun-ock, a Senior Secretary for Personnel Affairs, and Kim Bong-joon, a Secretary for Personnel Affairs on the same charge.
Prosecutors alleged Paik forced the resignation of the heads of 11 state-run energy companies who were appointed under the preceding Park government, shortly after he took office in 2017.
Former Minister Cho is accused of forcing Sohn Kwang-ju, a former Chief of the Korea Hana Foundation, to step down in 2017; he had about a year left in his tenure.
The foundation was formerly known as the North Korean Refugees Foundation.
The prosecution said: “You are facing charges of forcing Lim Ki-Chul, a former chief of the Korea Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning, to step down in 2017, even though about two years were also left in his tenure.”
An investigation into the scandal began nearly four years ago when the then-main opposition Liberty Korea Party, a predecessor of the now-ruling People Power Party, lodged a criminal complaint against former ranking officials and several former ministers.
Earlier, the Supreme Court also confirmed a two-year prison sentence for former Environment Minister, Kim Eun-Kyung for abusing her power to force ranking officials from the previous Park administration to resign from public institutions.
She was, however, released on presidential parole in 2022.
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