Announcing the result of its high-profile probe, the prosecution also cleared Cheong Wa Dae staff of the allegations that they illicitly collected Chae’s private records to pressure him to resign over the lovechild scandal. The investigators concluded that the staff carried out “legitimate” activities to inspect Chae.
The evidence that prosecutors cited to confirm Chae’s extramarital life included a family photo of Chae, the boy and his mother, and a series of the boy’s school documents in which Chae was described as his father.
Since the media reported last September that he had a child through an illegitimate relationship, Chae has consistently denied it and demanded that the media publish a correction. He has yet to take a DNA test to back his denial.
“It is considerably appropriate to believe that the allegations of him having a lovechild are true,” said a senior prosecutor at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, declining to be named.
“From the boy’s birth to his school period, Chae was described as the boy’s father and the former prosecutor-general himself acted as his father. Although we can’t be 100 percent sure without a DNA test, we can make such judgments based on such pieces of evidence.”
Investigators said that the boy’s mother, surnamed Lim, identified the former prosecutor chief as the boy’s father in her OB-GYN medical records from 2001-2002. They also said that the three-member family took a photo in July 2003 to celebrate the first birthday of the boy.
Investigators also secured statements from a private educational institute manager to whom Lim introduced the boy’s father as a prosecutor. They also obtained a New Year’s card that Chae sent to the boy in December 2006, identifying himself as the boy’s father.
Chae’s love child scandal roiled politics for months last year as the case took on political overtones. Opposition parties then alleged that the government sought to pressure Chae to step down over the scandal as Chae accelerated a high-profile probe into the state intelligence agency’s alleged interference in the 2007 presidential election.
Chae’s fall from grace dealt a considerable blow to the prosecution, which has lost public confidence amid a series of corruption scandals involving prosecutors.
Meanwhile, prosecutors said that they failed to find any circumstantial or hard evidence to confirm the allegations that some journalists received illicitly obtained private information to report on Chae’s scandal.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)