Investigator in former SBW chair case sentenced to 2 years
An investigator working for the prosecution in a corruption case against Kim Seong-tae has been sentenced to two years in prison for aiding Kim in his escape from justice.
The leaked information included details about a planned raid.
Another person was sentenced to a year and a half in the case, and a third person, an attorney, was acquitted.
The Suwon District Court on Thursday upheld the charges against the investigator for violating the Personal Information Protection Act and for divulging official secrets.
The court stated that although the investigator has shown remorse, the confidential information was passed on too frequently and the details of the leaked information were too critical to be ignored.
“The information leak disturbed the prosecution’s investigation and damaged the fair law system,” the judge concluded.
The other person sentenced is an executive working for SBW, a company Kim chaired for a time. That person was the recipient of the information from the first person in the case.
The attorney may not have known that the information was leaked from the prosecutor, the court concluded in delivering its acquittal.
Prosecutors had demanded a five-year prison sentence for the investigator, three years for the executive receiving the information and two years for the lawyer.
All three were indicted in August, three months after Kim reportedly fled the country.
The confidential investigation documents were found when prosecutors raided the law firm of an attorney who defended Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Lee Jae-myung in 2018.
The prosecutors were investigating allegations that SBW had illegally paid Lee’s lawsuit when he was being tried for a false statement made during an election in 2018.
The documents were found in an office occupied by another lawyer in the same law firm as Lee’s defense attorney.
Kim reportedly left the country after receiving information on the investigation in May 2022. He was reported to have stayed in a number of Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand.
Kim’s run, which lasted for eight months, ended after he was arrested at a golf club in Thailand.
He is currently also being investigated for smuggling foreign currency out of the country that was then given to North Korean officials. That money was reported to have been used in trying to get North Korea to invite DP Chairman Lee when he was Gyeonggi governor.
BY CHO JUNG-WOO, LEE CHAN-KYU [firstname.lastname@example.org]