Prosecutors indict 2 men for defaming Yoon in ‘fake’ media interview

Prosecutors indicted two men Monday on charges of defaming President Yoon Suk Yeol in a media interview allegedly engineered to discredit him as a presidential candidate.

The indictment of Kim Man-bae, a journalist-turned-property developer, and journalist Shin Hak-lim came more than two years following a news report in March of 2022, falsely suggesting Yoon’s involvement in a high-profile development corruption scandal.

The interview, conducted in September 2021, was published by Shin’s news outlet, Newstapa, just three days before the presidential election, in which Yoon was elected president.

Prosecutors charged Kim with paying Shin 165 million won (US$119,357) under the pretext of book purchases in exchange for publishing the “fake” interview, allegedly engineered to aid Yoon’s presidential rival and main opposition leader, Lee Jae-myung, in winning the election.

Both Kim and Shin have denied any intention to influence the presidential election, saying the interview was just a private conversation.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office indicted Kim and Shin under physical detention on charges of bribery, defamation, anti-graft violations and concealment of criminal proceeds.

Source: Yonhap News Agency