By Korea Herald staff
State prosecutors investigating the alleged influence peddling of Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of President Park Geun-hye, are to widen their probe to the latest allegation that Choi had access to over 200 confidential files, including drafts for presidential speeches.
“We have obtained a tablet (purportedly used by Choi) from JTBC and are now looking into the files,” an official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office told local media.
This photo, captured from local broadcaster JTBC on Oct. 25, 2016, shows copies of presidential speeches obtained from the files of a computer from Choi Soon-sil's office in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
In a shocking revelation, local cable TV channel JTBC reported late Monday that it found over 200 documents purportedly leaked from Cheong Wa Dae on an abandoned computer used by Choi. These included presidential speeches and addresses for various meetings and important national occasions. Signs of editing were also spotted, it claimed.
The prosecution plans to get from JTBC the desktop computer where the presidential documents were reportedly found.
A civic group filed a complaint Tuesday, demanding all those responsible for the leak be duly punished.
Later on Tuesday, the president admitted to the leak, saying she sought Choi’s opinions on her speeches and addresses out of pure intentions.
Calls are mounting that the prosecution should question Choi, whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
The probe was initially about two nonprofit foundations, Mir and K-sports, allegedly set up and run by Choi.
The entities, within less than a year, raised a combined 75 billion won ($66.7 million) from major conglomerates, such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. Choi is suspected of having inappropriately peddled influence in the creation and operation of the two foundations.
On Tuesday, Lee Yong-woo, an executive of the Federation of Korean Industries, an association of large business groups, was called in by investigators over his involvement in the fundraising campaigns. Mir and K-Sports are established under the auspices of FKI.