SEOUL– Prosecutors on Monday indicted Rhyu Si-min, a former health minister and an influential liberal commentator, on charges of allegedly making defamatory comments against a senior prosecutor through the media.

The Seoul Western District Prosecutors Office said Rhyu was indicted without detention on charges of defaming the reputation of Han Dong-hoon, former head of the prosecution service’s anti-corruption department, by making false statements in radio interviews.

Rhyu, who currently heads a memorial foundation of late former President Roh Moo-hyun, had alleged in interviews that the department led by Han illegally traced his personal bank account and that of the foundation sometime between late November and early December 2019.

Han’s department was in charge of probes into alleged irregularities surrounding former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, a close confidant of President Moon Jae-in, and his family, in late 2019. Back then, Rhyu was an outspoken critic of the investigations into Cho and his family.

The case into Rhyu was launched after a civic group filed a complaint with the prosecution over the comments in question. In January this year, Rhyu issued an apology, stating that his statements on the alleged account tracings were in fact false.

Han filed a law suit against Rhyu in March this year, seeking 500 million won (US$445,200) in compensation for damages.

Source: Yonhap News Agency