Published : 2013-09-24 15:42
Updated : 2013-09-24 15:42
The prosecution chief embroiled in a lovechild scandal sued the Chosun Ilbo on Tuesday, demanding the conservative daily correct recent reports of him concealing a son born out of wedlock. Breaking two weeks of silence, Prosecutor General Chae Dong-wook requested Seoul Central District Court to order the Chosun to publish a retraction on its front page, saying the story of him having a son through an affair was “100 percent incorrect” and “groundless.”
The prosecution chief said he would take every possible legal action against the newspaper and go through a paternity test immediately to prove that he is not related to the boy.
“Today, (I) lodged a correction claim against Chosun Ilbo. (I will) make every effort including a DNA test to reveal the truth in the course of legal disputes,” Chae said in a statement.
“I have no idea of what trouble the child reported by the Chosun Ilbo would face, but I ask (him) to take the DNA test as soon as possible in order to resolve this chaos,” he said.
The prosecution chief also demanded the nation’s largest news outlet pay him 10 million won ($9,300) a day, if it rejected a court order to issue the correction within five days.
The Chosun Ilbo, the nation’s largest daily, published a series of articles earlier this month, claiming that the prosecution chief, who is married, fathered a son in 2002 with a woman he met in 1999. Chae as well as the mother of the child denied the report, both saying they have known each other only as customer and restaurant owner.
Chae tendered his resignation on Sept. 12 shortly after Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn ordered an internal investigation into his alleged affair. The investigation on the incumbent prosecutor general, the first of its kind, came at a critical time when the prosecution had been investigating an election meddling scandal. The government has so far not conducted any internal probe into ministerial-level officials previously embroiled in similar scandals.
The prosecution has been looking into allegations that the National Intelligence Service ordered its agents to conduct an online smear campaign against an opposition candidate during last year’s presidential election.
The main opposition Democratic Party has accused the ministry and Cheong Wa Dae of pressuring the prosecution chief to step down. President Park Geun-hye has not accepted Chae’s resignation yet, saying the truth about his affair must be revealed first.
Chae has so far remained silent, but struck back at the ministry on Tuesday saying its plan to investigate him had jeopardized the prosecution’s political neutrality and independence. Chae also reaffirmed his decision to step down from the post, saying he would not be able to carry out the job if he was being investigated by the ministry.
“I won’t be able to lead the nation’s prosecutors even for a day if I become the subject of an investigation,” he said. “Even if the ministry proves my innocence, I think it is not appropriate to go back and take the job again.”
The Justice Ministry refused to comment on Chae taking legal action, but said it would continue its planned investigation. Currently, a nine-member advisory committee is reviewing the ministry’s plan. The committee, consisting of eight veteran lawyers and chaired by a former judge, is expected to report the results to the Justice Minister early next month, officials said.
Justice Minister Hwang met with high-level prosecutors on Sunday, requesting them to appease a growing resistance from low-level prosecutors and cooperate with the ministry to fill the vacuum created by Chae’s absence from office.
By Cho Chung-un