South Korean prosecutors on Monday indicted lawmaker Yoon Mee-hyang, the former head of a civic group that supports surviving “comfort women,” on charges of embezzlement and illegally receiving government subsidies.
Comfort women refer to women who suffered under Japan’s military brothel system before and during World War II.
The prosecutors, in a statement released the same day, said Yoon is accused of receiving about 365 million won ($308,000) illegally, collecting donations worth 170 million won through her private bank account and randomly using about 100 million won from the group account. Yoon, who won a parliament seat in April, has not been arrested.
The lawmaker, writing on her social network account later in the day, denied all the allegations of the prosecutors.
“The activists from the group and I have been fully cooperative with the investigation for the past three months, and have explained enough. I very much regret the prosecutors’ announcement and indictment,” Yoon said, adding that she is confident of proving herself innocent in court.
The indictment comes four months after Lee Yong-soo, a 91-year-old South Korean woman who was forced to work in the Japanese military’s wartime brothels, held an interview criticizing the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan for not using donations collected from the public in a transparent manner.
During the interview, she also harshly criticized Yoon for becoming a lawmaker and sowing internal division within the group.
Following the interview, Yoon, via her social network account, apologized for “the misunderstandings” and the controversies she has caused.