A group of lawyers accused former President Park Geun-hye’s defense attorney of collaborating in Park’s alleged criminal activity, calling on the Seoul Bar Association to punish him for violations of attorney rules.
In a complaint filed with the bar association, the group of 10 lawyers requested an investigation into why Yoo Yeong-ha was managing 3 billion won ($2.8 million) of Park’s money.
Yoo told prosecutors the money he received from Park was for future lawyer retainer fees, but “this was hard to believe considering current appointment practices,” the group of lawyers said in their complaint, accusing Yoo of obstructing the prosecution’s move to freeze Park’s assets.
Prosecutors have requested a court order that would prohibit Park from transferring or selling her assets, including the 3 billion won kept by Yoo, in order to forfeit the assets in case she is convicted of accepting kickbacks from the state spy agency. Park was indicted last week on charges of bribery and loss of state funds for allegedly receiving some 3.65 billion won from the National Intelligence Service.
former President Park Geun-hye’s defense attorney Yoo Yeong-ha (Yonhap)
In their complaint, the lawyers said that Yoo appears to have violated an article of the Attorney-at-Law Act that prohibits attorneys from making false statements, and the Attorneys’ Ethics Charter that says attorneys must not collaborate in their clients’ criminal activities.
The group also said Yoo seems to have actively cooperated in Park’s boycott of her trial, which was a violation of the Attorneys’ Ethics Charter.
All of Park’s seven defense lawyers, including Yoo, representing the ousted president last year, quit in protest of a court decision to extend her detention to April. The court has appointed public defenders, but Park has refused to meet with them, and the trial has proceeded in her absence.
The group of lawyers also took issue with the fact that Yoo visited Park in prison multiple times after he resigned. They said he violated an article of the Attorney-at-Law Act that prohibits defense without submitting a letter of designation of counsel.
Park rehired Yoo as her defense lawyer last week to fight new charges that she took bribes from the NIS.
Yoo’s ties with Park date to 2007, when he served as her legal adviser while she was running for her party’s presidential nomination.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org