The controversy surrounding former police officer Kwon Eun-hee is growing into a full-blown row between the ruling and opposition parties.
Kwon, who is running for Gwangju’s Gwangsan-B constituency in the July 30 by-elections, has been linked to a string of wrongdoings ranging from plagiarism to perjury.
The latest allegation was raised by the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, or Newstapa, on July 18, when it claimed that Kwon undervalued her husband’s assets when reporting them to the election commission.
The latest allegation prompted the ruling Saenuri Party to renew its attack on Kwon, whose candidacy has riled it from the start. The ruling party has accused the NPAD of rewarding Kwon for accusing ranking police officers of meddling in her investigation into the National Intelligence Service’s alleged attempt to sway public opinion during the 2012 presidential election. Former Seoul police chief Kim Yong-pan, who was indicted over the charges, has so far been acquitted by two courts.
On Sunday, Saenuri Party Secretary General Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun raised questions about Kwon’s husband’s occupation, accusing him of being little more than a “professional real estate speculator.”
At Monday’s party conference, Yoon followed up his attack by saying that Kwon was a person who should not run for office and that she and other NPAD candidates would be ineffectual in the parliament.
“The election commission says that the assets report was legitimate, but the political attacks continue,” NPAD cochairman Rep. Kim Han-gil said Monday, describing the attack on Kwon as “Kwon Eun-hee killing.”
“If there were problems with Kwon, (she) would never have survived (in the political arena).”
NPAD chief spokesman Rep. Yoo Ki-hong stepped up the counterattack, calling on the Saenuri Party to take action against Yoon.
“If the Saenuri Party wants the normal ruling-opposition relations to continue, it should take steps against Yoon,” Yoo said.
For her part, Kwon has requested for Newstapa to publish a correction, saying that its July 18 report misrepresented the truth.
Newstapa claims that Kwon deliberately underreported her husband’s financial value to the election commission. The news outlet claimed that Kwon’s husband is in fact in possession of a number of properties, the combined value of which runs in the tens of billions of won.
In her assets report, Kwon said that the combined value of their assets was 580 million won ($565,000). According to Kwon, their assets were evaluated in accordance with the law, and reporting the market value of the properties would have raised legal problems.
She also claimed that the figure of 580 million won includes the face value of the shares of her husband’s companies.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)