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Liberal pundit claims prosecution probed Cho before nomination

Liberal politician-turned-writer Rhyu Si-min repeated his claim Tuesday that the prosecution secretly investigated Cho Kuk’s family before he was nominated as justice minister.

On his YouTube show aired Tuesday evening, Rhyu said that Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl requested a person “who can deliver messages to the president” in mid-August for a meeting with President Moon Jae-in to tell him that Cho shouldn’t be appointed as justice minister.

According to Rhyu, Yoon said to that person, “Cho Kuk must not be appointed as justice minister. I looked at (Cho’s irregularities), and some of them are very serious. ... By law, (what he did) calls for judicial action. I know about private equity funds, and he is a really bad guy.”

(Screenshot captured from Youtube)
(Screenshot captured from Youtube)

Yoon said he wished to meet with Moon in person to report to him about Cho out of his loyalty to the president, according to Rhyu, head of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation.

Rhyu also said he confirmed that Yoon made similar remarks about Cho to others on unofficial occasions around the same time.

Rhyu said that if an experienced prosecutor such as Yoon was so certain by mid-August, the internal probe into Cho and his family was likely to have begun before Moon nominated Cho on Aug. 9.

Rhyu went on to suggest that the internal investigation documents were probably produced by the crime information departments of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office and the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

“These departments follow people and verify who used which credit card if a high-ranking official in the office of the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs has a meal with an acquaintance,” Rhyu said, adding that the prosecution must have had a “Cho Kuk file” by the time Cho offered to resign as senior presidential secretary amid speculation that he would be the next justice minister.

Regarding his earlier claims that Yoon was deceived by his subordinates, Rhyu said the internal investigation results were likely to be “exaggerated.”

“If the internal probe results were correct, they could have just booked him, and summoned, questioned and indicted him without holding his family hostage, but they still haven’t,” Rhyu said.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said Rhyu was slandering public servants with groundless conjecture.

By Kim So-hyun (