Published : 2013-12-04 17:27
Updated : 2013-12-04 18:13
The presidential office confirmed Wednesday that a mid-level official was involved in the leak of personal information concerning a child suspected to be the illegitimate son of former Prosecutor General Chae Dong-wook. The official, identified by his surname Cho, has been removed from his post and has been put up for disciplinary board review.
According to the findings of the presidential office and the prosecution, Cho requested that Cho E-jae, an official at Seocho-gu District Office in southern Seoul, track down the boy’s family registration file on June 11, about three months before the scandal broke out.
The presidential office also said that Cho was acting on behalf of an official at the Ministry of Security and Public Administration identified as Kim. Cheong Wa Dae denied that any other official was involved in the development.
“So far, this is all there is, and it has been confirmed that no other Cheong Wa Dae official made any requests to Cho,” Lee Jung-hyun, senior presidential public relations secretary, said.
“What is clear is that unlike the allegations raised by some, this is Cho’s personal deviant action.”
In earlier questioning, Cho E-jae claimed that he was given the boy’s name, national identification number and home address through mobile texts sent by the official at Cheong Wa Dae. He also claimed that he did not know why the information was required, but complied with the request thinking that it was a personal matter.
The prosecution investigating the case is currently analyzing mobile phones submitted by Cho. The investigators, who summoned Cho E-jae late last month, plan to question the Cheong Wa Dae official once the analysis of the mobile devices is finished.
In September, Chae became embroiled in a scandal in which he was alleged to have fathered a son through an extramarital affair.
He denied the allegations, but resigned in September. The developments became one of the hottest political issues at the time with the opposition bloc raising suspicions that the government had engineered his removal for pursuing the investigation into the alleged state tampering in last year’s presidential race.
Wednesday’s development rekindled the main opposition Democratic Party’s attack.
“(Cho’s) removal is a symbolic case that shows that Cheong Wa Dae is involved,” Democratic Party spokesman Rep. Kim Kwan-young said.
“If an incomplete investigation is carried out, it will not only incur the wrath of the people but also become the subject of another special counsel investigation.”
By Choi He-suk