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Intelligence chief booked for election meddling

Anti-corruption agency raids Rep. Chung Jeom-sik on allegations over Yoon’s political plot



South Korea’s spy chief Park Jie-won (Yonhap)
South Korea’s spy chief Park Jie-won (Yonhap)
South Korea’s anti-corruption agency has launched an investigation into allegations that South Korea’s spy chief Park Jie-won attempted to meddle in the upcoming presidential election.

On Tuesday, the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials booked Park on charges of violating the National Intelligence Service Act and the Public Official Election Act.

The investigation kicked off around three weeks after Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl’s campaign aides filed a complaint against the National Intelligence Service head and informant Cho Sung-eun with the CIO, in a countermove against allegations raised by Cho.

Yoon’s camp also accused Park of further violating the two laws after Park mentioned Yoon in a media interview citing corruption cases related to a former head of the Yongsan Tax Office.

Yoon’s camp claimed Park colluded with Cho, who admitted to blowing the whistle on Yoon’s wrongful conduct during his term as the top prosecutor by tipping off online news outlet Newsverse. The media outlet raised allegations last month that Yoon had attempted to intervene in the general elections in April last year when he served as prosecutor-general.

The reports said prosecutor Son Jun-sung, believed to be Yoon’s key man when he worked as a top investigation intelligence official at the Supreme Prosecutors Office, instigated the People Power Party to file a complaint against three pro-Moon government political figures in the runup to the 2020 general election.

On Wednesday morning, the CIO raided the office and home of Rep. Chung Jeom-sik and lawyer Cho Sang-kyu in connection with Yoon’s alleged political meddling.

Chung, a former prosecutor, served as the head of the legal support group of the United Future Party (a predecessor to the People Power Party) during last year’s general election.

As the legal support team head, he was reported to have delivered the draft complaint against pro-Moon government political figures, including Rep. Choe Kang-wook of the Open Democratic Party, to the party audit office, which reportedly handed it over to lawyer Cho Sang-kyu. Cho served as a legal adviser to the United Future Party last year. The raid aims to find out what role Rep. Chung played in the path of the complaint.

The anti-corruption agency suspects that the complaint sent by Yoon’s close aide, Son, went through Rep. Kim Woong then to Rep. Chung.

By Shin Ji-hye and Ji Da-gyum
(shinjh@heraldcorp.com) (dagyumji@heraldcorp.com)
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