Prosecutors on Monday requested a Seoul court docket to subject an arrest warrant for South Korea’s main opposition determine, Lee Jae-myung, on corruption fees, 18 days after Mr. Lee started a starvation strike to protest President Yoon Suk Yeol’s international and home insurance policies.
Mr. Lee, the chief of the Democratic Get together, was taken to a hospital hours earlier than prosecutors utilized for the warrant, on fees together with bribery and breach of belief. Get together officers stated Mr. Lee had been discovered almost unconscious in his workplace, his blood sugar ranges having fallen sharply.
Mr. Lee, 58, lost the 2022 presidential election to Mr. Yoon, a former prosecutor, by a razor-thin margin and has been the topic of a sequence of felony investigations since then. He has vehemently denied each cost introduced in opposition to him, calling Mr. Yoon’s authorities “a dictatorship by prosecutors” and accusing him of utilizing the felony justice system to intimidate and discredit his political enemies.
Mr. Lee started his starvation strike — a way of political protest usually used throughout South Korea’s years of army dictatorship — on Aug. 31, first in a tent in entrance of the Nationwide Meeting constructing and later in his workplaces. He stated Mr. Yoon had presided over a “retreat of democracy” in South Korea.
A few of the newest fees in opposition to Mr. Lee stem from his time as mayor of Seongnam, a metropolis south of Seoul. Prosecutors say he gave unlawful quid professional quo favors to a non-public investor in a Seongnam actual property challenge between 2014 and 2017.
In addition they say that between 2019 and 2020 — when Mr. Lee was the governor of Gyeonggi Province, which borders North Korea — he requested an area underwear producer, Ssangbangwool, to illegally switch $8 million to North Korea, purportedly in an try to coax the North into coming into an financial alternate program with Gyeonggi.
Mr. Lee, a member of the Nationwide Meeting, is not going to be arrested until his personal occasion lets it occur. By regulation, South Korean courts can’t maintain hearings on arrest warrants for lawmakers until the legislature votes to allow them to accomplish that. The Democratic Get together controls a majority within the Nationwide Meeting, which in February put a cease to prosecutors’ final try to arrest Mr. Lee.
In current months, Mr. Lee has stated he would not anticipate his occasion to protect him from arrest. In current days, occasion members have requested him to cease his starvation strike, citing his deteriorating well being. Over the weekend, his political opponent Kim Gi-hyeon, who leads Mr. Yoon’s Folks Energy Get together, urged Mr. Lee on social media to cease fasting and talk about his grievances within the legislature.
Mr. Lee and his occasion have blamed Mr. Yoon for rising client costs and excoriated him for searching for to enhance ties with Japan, South Korea’s former colonial ruler. They not too long ago accused Mr. Yoon of risking public well being by not opposing Japan’s release of handled radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Mr. Yoon’s workplace had no instant touch upon Mr. Lee’s starvation strike or on prosecutors’ try to arrest him. On Monday, Mr. Yoon left Seoul for a five-day go to to New York for the United Nations Normal Meeting, the place he was anticipated to boost warnings about signs of growing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia.
Mr. Yoon, 62, a conservative, got here to energy vowing to reverse his predecessor Moon Jae-in’s coverage of emphasizing negotiations and reconciliation with North Korea. However he has since suffered low approval rankings, with a majority of respondents in numerous surveys disapproving of his efficiency in workplace.
In current weeks, Mr. Yoon has escalated his assaults on progressive political enemies, likening a few of them to “anti-state forces” and accusing them of colluding with North Korea. He has additionally accused opponents of spreading “faux information.” Opposition lawmakers have accused him of worsening the nation’s political polarization.