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Cheong Wa Dae denies allegations related to first lady fashion expenses

First lady Kim Jung-sook at a ceremony held for new police officers at the Korean National Police University in Asan, South Chungcheong Province on March 17 (Yonhap)
First lady Kim Jung-sook at a ceremony held for new police officers at the Korean National Police University in Asan, South Chungcheong Province on March 17 (Yonhap)

Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday denied recent rumors regarding the first lady’s expenses over clothes and fashion items, saying that no state funds had been used.

“The groundless assertions related to first lady Kim Jung-sook using special activity expenses for costumes to wear at official events are completely false,” Shin Hye-hyeon, deputy spokesperson for Cheong Wa Dae, said at a briefing Tuesday.

“National budget, including special activity expenses, have not been drawn up or used for the president’s spouse to purchase clothes. It was all personal expenses,” Shin said. “Her clothes, sponsored for overseas visits or international events, were donated or returned.”

The spokesperson added that expenses for the diplomatic activities of the president and first lady for official events such as summits, overseas visits and invitations for foreign guests are used at the necessary minimum through strict internal procedures.

The controversy began when local civic group Korea Taxpayers’ Association filed a request with Cheong Wa Dae to release information on how much the Moon Jae-in administration had spent for Kim’s clothes, accessories, shoes and more over the past nearly five years of Moon’s term. The administration refused to share the information, citing “national security issues,” and the group filed a lawsuit against Cheong Wa dae.

While the Seoul Administrative Court took the side of the plaintiff last month, Cheong Wa Dae has appealed.

By Im Eun-byel(silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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