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Presidential staffer grilled over alleged involvement in love child scandal

A mid-level presidential staffer underwent questioning by prosecutors over suspicions that he illegally accessed personal information of a child suspected of being the illegitimate son of former top prosecutor, prosecution officials said Thursday.

Cho Oh-young is under suspicion of illegally accessing the information of the 11-year-old, including his name, resident registration number and home address, via a senior official at the Seocho District Office in southern Seoul in June at the request of a high-ranking government official, they said.

Former Prosecutor General Chae Dong-wook was forced to step down from his position in September after allegations arose that he had fathered a son through an extramarital affair.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office probing the case called in Cho Wednesday for questioning on details over the motivations behind his alleged acts, they added.

The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday that it has removed Cho, the 54-year-old staffer at the general affairs team, from his position after conducting an internal investigation to confirm his alleged illegal acts.

The office, however, denied involvement of any higher-ranking officials, saying Cho was a technician-level staffer and no other officials of the top office were found to be involved.

However, the finding could deepen suspicions that the presidential office engineered Chae's removal for aggressively pursuing an investigation into the alleged state tampering in last year's presidential race.

The prosecution office at the time was probing whether the state intelligence agency had interfered in last year's presidential race to sway public opinion in favor of President Park Geun-hye, the then ruling Saenuri Party candidate.

The prosecution office, meanwhile, raided the residence and office of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration official, only identified by his surname Kim, as part of their probe, officials said.

A team of prosecutors and investigators obtained documents from Kim's house in southern Seoul to corroborate the charges, they added.

The prosecution office said it will soon summon Kim for further questioning after analyzing the seized materials. (Yonhap News)