South Korea’s ambassador to Australia resigned on Friday as questions about his appointment while he is under a corruption investigation battered President Yoon Suk Yeol’s ruling party less than two weeks from a closely fought parliamentary election.

Lee Jong-sup, who was appointed ambassador to Australia just four weeks ago, is being investigated over allegations he tried to improperly influence a probe into the death of a marine last year while he was defence minister.

“His resignation was reported to the president and it has been decided it will be accepted,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Reuters could not immediately contact Lee for comment.

Lee has previously denied any wrongdoing and said he was willing to cooperate fully with the investigation.

Criticism of Lee’s appointment grew sharply after he flew to Canberra on 10 March, with opposition party members saying it was an attempt to evade questioning in the case.

Some members of Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) have also said he was the wrong choice for an ambassador and it was a mistake for him to leave.

Lee returned to Seoul last week for what he said were official meetings and said he hoped to have the chance to answer questions by the national corruption agency handling the case.

But the outcry over his appointment and his hasty departure has continued and some PPP members said has been a political burden for the party as it tries to win back control of parliament at the 10 April elections.

The anti-corruption agency is investigating Lee over allegations he was behind a government attempt to interfere with a probe into the death of a marine who was involved in a search and rescue operation during floods last year.

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