SEOUL-- Justice Minister nominee Han Dong-hoon is known as one of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's closest confidants in the prosecution, as they had previously worked together in investigations into many high-profile cases for nearly two decades.
The 49-year-old Han, a graduate of Seoul National University, has also gained fame for expertise in special criminal investigations after entering the prosecution in 2001.
Han first met Yoon in 2003, when he was appointed to join the Supreme Prosecutors Office's Central Investigation Bureau. Yoon joined the prosecution service in 1994 and retired last year before running for presidency.
Since then, Han had worked under Yoon in many large-scale criminal investigations, including those on SK Global accounting frauds, a slush fund scandal related to a presidential election campaign, financial irregularities at Hyundai Motor, and the scandal-ridden sale of Korea Exchange Bank to U.S. hedge fund Lone Star.
Han worked in the presidential office for about three years during the presidency of Lee Myung-bak before serving in many key posts in the prosecution.
He then worked under Yoon in a special counsel investigation into a corruption scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil in 2016. Han also led many other investigations that led to the arrests of Lee and a number of former and incumbent judges.
Han was promoted to the post of chief public prosecutor in 2019, after Yoon took office as the Moon Jae-in government's second prosecutor general.
But Han's prosecution career had gone downhill soon after his promotion, as he spearheaded an investigation into corruption allegations involving then Justice Minister Cho Kuk and his family.
He was then demoted to unimportant posts at the Busan High Prosecutors Office and the Judicial Research & Training Institute.
He even came under a prosecution investigation in 2020 for being allegedly involved in a blackmail case involving a jailed businessperson and a TV reporter but was cleared of all charges last week.
Source: Yonhap News Agency