Ex-tax agency chief quizzed over suspected covert op against former president

By Yonhap
  • Published : Feb 1, 2018 - 09:25
  • Updated : Feb 1, 2018 - 09:25
Prosecutors questioned a former head of the National Tax Service on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in a spy agency secret operation against late President Kim Dae-jung during the previous Lee Myung-bak government.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office called in Lee Hyun-dong, former NTS commissioner, for an interrogation over allegations that he was paid tens of millions of won by the National Intelligence Service in 2010 to help it uncover Kim's slush fund, rumored to have been hidden overseas. Such a provision of NIS funds to the tax agency is incriminating because the money had been specifically allotted for North Korea-related intelligence operations. 

Lee Hyun-dong, former National Tax Service commissioner, appears at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors` Office on Jan. 31, 2018, for questioning over involvement in a secret political operation against former president Kim Dae-jung funded money from the state spy agency. (Yonhap)

Lee headed the NTS from 2010-2013. He was a deputy commissioner at the tax agency when he allegedly received the NIS funds.

The covert NIS operation, apparently code-named "Davidson," centered on suspicions that the late president had stashed a slush fund offshore -- suspicions that later proved groundless after a two-year probe.

Prosecutors believe that the NIS also carried out a similar political maneuver against former President Roh Moo-hyun, Kim's successor, and bankrolled it by siphoning off its own funds.

The prosecution is said to have discovered that the spy agency had paid off a Korean-American who worked for the US Internal Revenue Service in return for information that may link Kim to any suspicious holding of money. Prosecutors have requested a court warrant to arrest former NIS deputy director Choi Jong-heup for allegedly misappropriating 1 billion won ($936,770) of NIS funds for use in covert ops against the two former presidents.(Yonhap)