Opposition leader additionally indicted on charge of abetting perjury

Prosecutors indicted opposition leader Lee Jae-myung on Monday on an additional charge of abetting perjury while standing trial in 2018 in an election law violation case.

The move by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office came four days after the chair of the main opposition Democratic Party was indicted without physical detention over breach of trust charges connected to a scandal-ridden property development project during Lee's term as mayor of Seongnam, just south of Seoul.

The perjury charge centers on allegations that Lee had a former Seongnam mayor's secretary give false testimony at a trial for Lee in 2018 over a suspected official election law violation.

Prosecutors accuse Lee of making multiple calls to the secretary asking him to testify in his favor ahead of the trial. Lee was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2020 in the case.

The back-to-back indictment of Lee came nearly a month after the National Assembly voted to lift the opposition leader's immunity from arrest in a surprise, narrow 149-136 vote attributed to a number of dissenting ballots from his own party that commands a majority of parliamentary seats.

Prosecutors have since sought an arrest warrant for Lee, which was rejected by a Seoul court on Sept. 27.

Lee and his party have vehemently lambasted the prosecution for what they called the "persecution" of the opposition party and accused the Yoon Suk Yeol government of attempting to "remove a political enemy."

Lee is already standing trial on two other separate cases, involving alleged election law violations during his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2022 and corruption charges connected to another property development project launched during his term as Seongnam mayor, respectively.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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