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Blue House takes legal action against alleged whistleblower

Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against Kim Tae-woo, accusing the former investigator with the presidential office of raising false accusations and spreading information gained as part of his official duties. 

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom. Yonhap
Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom. Yonhap

Kim Tae-woo was removed from the Cheong Wa Dae post last month and sent back to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, from which he had been dispatched, for allegedly violating regulations. Kim was found to have attempted to gain information on an open police investigation involving his acquaintance. Cheong Wa Dae was alerted to the attempt when police verified Kim’s position with the presidential office.

The presidential office has also requested the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to investigate allegations surrounding Kim.

“Cheong Wa Dae filed a criminal complaint to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office against Kim Tae-woo for divulging official secrets,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said.

“Kim Tae-woo, despite being under investigation as a suspect, continues illegal actions, such as spreading false information to the media and distributing information gained in official duties.”

Since being removed from Cheong Wa Dae, Kim Tae-woo has claimed that he was targeted by Cheong Wa Dae for gathering information disadvantageous to the Moon Jae-in administration. He has also alleged that intelligence reports he compiled were ignored on several occasions, and that Cheong Wa Dae surveilled civilians.

One of the reports Kim alleges was ignored by senior Cheong Wa Dae officials concerns Korean Ambassador to Russia Woo Yoon-keun. According to Kim Tae-woo, he secured evidence that Woo took a bribe from a construction company owner in 2009. Woo Yoon-keun returned the money in 2016, fearing that the transaction from seven years ago would affect his political career, Kim claims.

The diplomat denies the allegations and is said to be considering legal action against Kim Tae-woo.

Kim Tae-woo also alleges that Cheong Wa Dae ignored his report concerning Korea Expressway Corp. chief Lee Kang-rae giving preferential treatment to Woo Je-chang in a coffee machine supply contract. Lee and Woo are both former Democratic Party lawmakers.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, the report was submitted days before Kim was removed from office, and no actions were taken on the report as senior officials of the special inspection team were unable to verify the information. The presidential office also said that the information had been made public by a local daily and an opposition lawmaker about two weeks before Kim Tae-woo submitted the report, downplaying its significance.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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