Justice minister Han Dong-hoon said a court denial of a pretrial detention warrant for main opposition Democratic Party(DP) leader Lee Jae-myung does not imply that charges against him have been dismissed.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Han said the decision on the warrant is only an intermediate step in a criminal investigation.
Stressing that jurisdiction must not become political when a politician allegedly commits a crime, the minister said the prosecution, which has conducted the investigation in a fair manner, will continue to do so.
As for the opposition's criticism that the investigation has been excessive, he noted that 21 people linked to corruption and third-party bribery charges against Lee have been detained.
Prosecutor General Lee One-seok, for his part, said there seems to have been a considerable difference in opinion between the prosecution and the court regarding Lee's detention and its grounds.
The top prosecutor pledged to faithfully proceed with the investigation, trial and other judicial processes based solely on evidence and the principle of law, and to do best in seeking an appropriate punishment.