The Supreme Court chief justice said Friday he will actively cooperate with a prosecution probe into allegations that the top court under his predecessor used trials as bargaining chips in its dealings with the presidential office.
The Supreme Court under then-Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae is alleged to have sought to use politically sensitive trials as bargaining chips in its dealings with the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae over organizational changes.
An internal probe showed that the National Court Administration under the top court wrote a report in March 2015 on how to use high-profile cases in persuading senior presidential aides to then-President Park Geun-hye into supporting Yang's bid to establish a court of appeals.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su (Yonhap)
Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su said that he will closely cooperate with prosecutors' investigation into the case, instead of referring Yang and others directly to the prosecution.
"Though we will not file complaints with the prosecution, we will provide the necessary data secured by an internal probe team, including classified documents, in due course (to prosecutors) for the probe," Kim said.
Yang has denied the accusations, arguing that there was no unfair interference in trials and that he never used them for bargaining. He also denied any disadvantage was meted out to judges who opposed his proposal to set up a court of appeals.
The court administration's officials are suspected of having communicated frequently with Park's aides and influential politicians over cases such as those involving a liberal opposition lawmaker, a former spy chief and the progressive teachers' union.
Kim said he plans to take punitive action against 13 judges involved in the power abuse scandal. (Yonhap)