Yoon’s office sues opposition lawmaker for accusing first lady of stock manipulation

SEOUL-- The office of President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday sued an opposition lawmaker for making allegedly false claims of stock manipulation against first lady Kim Keon Hee.

The presidential office said in a statement it filed libel charges against Rep. Kim Eui-kyeom of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP).

The lawmaker, who serves as a party spokesperson, claimed in a written briefing last Friday that the first lady's name was mentioned at least 300 times during a trial on the alleged manipulation of stock prices of Deutsch Motors Inc., a BMW car dealer in South Korea. The opposition party has long accused the first lady of involvement in the case.

He further cited a prosecutor as saying Kim's bank account was used in manipulating stock prices of a separate company, Woori Technology, which develops nuclear power plant technology.

The presidential office categorically denied the allegations involving Woori Technology.

"Making repeated public announcements of conclusive 'fake news' with charges that the president's spouse's manipulation of stock prices were revealed is malicious and actually violates the public's right to know," it said. "The fact that the president's spouse simply traded in certain stocks 13 years ago cannot, without any basis, turn into 'stock price manipulation.'"

The presidential office said presenting "any allegation" and then demanding the victim prove their innocence "is something that cannot happen in a country under the rule of law."

Rep. Kim was one of the people who accused Yoon and Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon of taking part in a late-night drinking party at a luxury bar in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, last July.

The presidential office said it did not file charges over the accusation in Monday's complaint, as a third party has already done so and an investigation is under way.

Later Monday, the DP accused prosecutors of turning a blind eye to allegations involving the first lady at a time when they are aggressively pursuing an investigation of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung.

"When is the prosecution going to investigate the Kim Keon Hee stock manipulation case?" DP floor leader Park Hong-keun said. "Even if they blackmail the opposition party's spokesperson, public suspicions cannot be resolved ... we will explore all possible measures to prove everybody is equal before the law."

Rep. Park Chan-dae, a Supreme Council member of the DP, urged the presidential office to accept the party's call for launching a special counsel probe into allegations involving the first lady.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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