Prosecutors raided the home of Newstapa CEO Kim Yong-jin on Wednesday over alleged defamation through fake news broadcast about President Yoon Suk Yeol in an attempt to influence last year's presidential election.
The raid concerns suspicions that the CEO's news agency released an interview in September 2021 in which Kim Man-bae, a key figure in the Seongnam development scandal, claimed that then-candidate Yoon had colluded in an illegal loan scheme while he was a prosecutor in 2011.
Released three days before the election in March 2022, the interview was conducted by Shin Hak-lim, the former head of the National Union of Media Workers who was affiliated with Newstapa who allegedly received 165 million won, or around 126-thousand U.S. dollars, from the interviewee.
In September, prosecutors raided Newstapa and another local media outlet, JTBC, which reported a month before the election that Yoon had attempted to cover up the loan scheme based on an interview with a broker involved in the scandal.
Prosecutors believe that the two involved in the interview may have collaborated to disseminate fake news in an attempt to change the principal figure in the development scandal from then-ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung to Yoon.