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Ruling party officials behind own membership list leakage

Two officials of the ruling Saenuri Party masterminded the leakage of the party's membership list for money, prosecutors said Thursday.

Announcing its interim probe results, the Suwon District Prosecutors' Office said it has indicted six people, including a 43-year-old expert advisor for the party, identified as Lee, and a 25-year-old official surnamed Jeong, on charges of leaking and selling the party's membership list.

After Jeong, who had access to the list, handed it over to Lee, Lee allegedly sold the list of 2.2. million party members to a text message service company employee, also surnamed Lee, in return for 4 million won (US$3,523) over the course of about three months starting in January, according to the prosecutors.

Leaked information included names, addresses and telephone numbers of Saenuri's party members, they noted, adding the information of some 100,000 members out of 2.2. million turned out to have been obtained by 10 lawmaker hopefuls, in an apparent bid to boost their chances at winning the party's nomination for the April parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors said they detained party official Lee along with text message worker Lee and charged them with violating the personal information protection law, adding four others including Jeong were indicted without detention.

Last month, the ruling party said that at least one lawmaker candidate for the ruling party won a National Assembly seat in April's parliamentary elections after having obtained the leaked list, stoking controversy over alleged irregularities in the nomination process.

"We will decide whether to summon the incumbent lawmaker after conducting further investigation into if he actually used the list for his election campaign," said Lee Jong-guen, a prosecutor in charge of the case. 

(Yonhap News)