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Ex-minister questioned over 2008 mad cow report lawsuit

An inquiry team under the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office interrogated a former agriculture minister on his complaint filed against a 2008 MBC-TV report about mad cow disease.

The inquiry team, upon recommendation by a panel digging up prosecution’s past irregularities, questioned Chung Un-cheon about whether the then Lee Myung-bak administration had intervened in the request for an investigation into the MBC producers, prosecutors said Thursday.


The former agriculture minister is reported to have said that it was his own decision.

The inquiry team suspects that Chung requested a prosecution investigation upon instruction from Lee’s presidential office. The prosecution had led a special probe into the producers of “PD’s Notepad” over the mad cow report, eventually putting them on trial.

The Supreme Court confirmed a lower court ruling that the producers of the television program were not guilty of defaming Chung.

The inquiry team is considering questioning Lim Soo-bin, the prosecutor who led the special probe of the producers. Former senior prosecutor Lim resigned in January 2009 after opposing orders from the prosecution’s leadership to “begin a probe regardless of their indictment.”

The panel looking into possible irregularities by the prosecution, including human rights violations dating back to the 1980s, recommended the inquiry team reinvestigate 12 cases from the past.

By Kim So-hyun (