Prosecution raids presidential office over probe into ex-vice mayor

Dec 05, 2019, 09:14 am

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By AsiaToday reporter Heo Gyeong-joon

Prosecutors raided the office of top presidential secretary for civil affairs on Wednesday over allegations that the office could be behind the sudden end of an inspection into former Busan Vice Mayor Yoo Jae-soo. 

The Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors Office sent prosecutors and investigators to the presidential Cheong Wa Dae to present a search and seizure warrant and secured relevant records.

“Regarding the suspicion of suspending an inspection into former vice mayor Yoo Jae-soo, we launched the raid on the Cheong Wa Dae office after securing a search and seizure warrant from a court,” a prosecution official said. 

Since the presidential office is a place where military information needs to be kept confidential under Article 110, the raid was conducted in a manner that prompted presidential officials to submit related evidence items to prosecutors and investigators.

Previously, the prosecution had attempted seize and search three times – in 2012, 2016, and 2017 – and was given related records. In December 2018, state prosecutors attempted seize and search into a special inspection team over Cheong Wa Dae officials’ alleged illegal surveillance on civilians, but were blocked. At the time, Cheong Wa Dae provided them with requested documents.

The prosecution reportedly raided Cheong Wa Dae to secure additional documents on an alleged cover-up of an inspection of the ex-vice mayor who faces bribery charges. 

The allegations stem from Yoo’s time at the Financial Services Commission. Yoo allegedly received bribes worth nearly 50 million won from several financial institutions and influenced an asset management firm in close relationship with him to hire his sibling. 

During the investigation, the prosecution seized situation where the businesses were all given special favors in return. 

The prosecution has reportedly confirmed accusation that Yoo was given a car, overseas study expenses for his child, an office and airline tickets from financial businesses supervised by the FSC. 

Yoo had been a secretary to former liberal President Roh Moo-hyun. He joined the FSC in 2008, and was promoted to Director-General for Planning and Coordination in 2015.

After being appointed to a key FSC post in 2017, Yoo came under surveillance by a special presidential office inspection team. However, Yoo avoided punishment for an unknown reason and became Busan’s vice mayor in charge of economic affairs in 2018.

The prosecution is looking into allegations that Cho Kuk, former top presidential secretary for civil affairs and former justice minister, and Baek Won-woo, former presidential secretary for civil affairs, may be behind the sudden end of the inspection into Yoo.

#prosecution #Yoo Jae-soo #Cho Kuk #Baek Won-woo #raid 
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