Ministry takes legal action against whistle-blowing official

By Bae Hyunjung
  • Published : Jan 2, 2019 - 17:00
  • Updated : Jan 2, 2019 - 17:00

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said Wednesday it will level criminal charges against a former official for making public remarks accusing the Moon Jae-in government of forcing bond issuance and interfering in corporate personnel affairs.

But the high-profile figures who were directly mentioned in the accusation -- including former Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon -- have continued their silence amid the snowballing controversy.

“The ministry will submit a bill of indictment against former official Shin Jae-min at the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office this afternoon,” said spokesperson Yoon Tae-sik at a press briefing.

“By disclosing the ministry’s internal documents, Shin has breached confidence and the confidentiality laws concerning public records.”

Shin Jae-min, former official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, speaks in a press conference on Wednsday. (Yonhap)

Shin, a 32-year-old former official at the ministry’s treasury department, has recently come into spotlight after he claimed via YouTube clips and online posts that the government tried to issue deficit-covering bonds worth 4 trillion won ($3.57 billion) in late 2017 under pressure from the presidential office.

The alleged move was to increase government debts for fiscal year 2017 and overstate the mischiefs of the former Park Geun-hye administration, according to the former official.

The government would issue deficit-covering bonds when its spending exceeds tax revenue, but tax revenue was expected to surpass spending when then-Minister Kim ordered bond issuance despite internal backlash, he argued.

When asked whether the former minister has plans to bring criminal charges against Shin for defamation or spreading of false information, the ministry spokesperson said he “has not heard of such details.”

Since stepping down from his ministerial post last month, giving way to successor Hong Nam-ki, Kim has remained low-key and out of the public eye.

Cho Kyu-hong, who was assistant minister at the time of the disputed bond issuance, also remained mute. Cho is currently serving as director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Shin had earlier revealed a screen capture image of his messenger conversation that he claimed reflected his past dispute with then-assistant minister Cho over the bond issuance.

Meanwhile, Shin posted to his alumni website that he is planning to hire legal counsel to respond to the ministry’s charges.

By Bae Hyun-jung (