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Woo Byung-woo remains untouched despite arrest warrant for president

Woo Byung-woo remains untouched despite arrest warrant for president

Posted March. 29, 2017 07:12,   

Updated March. 29, 2017 07:21


Woo Byung-woo, former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, used to call in and use abusive language or conduct close inspection into trivial matters of government officials who failed to follow instructions from the presidential office, it has been revealed. After inaugurating as the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs in May 2014, Woo called in Kim Jae-joong, then director-general of the market oversight bureau at the Fair Trade Commission, and instructed him to file a suit on the charges of unfair trade practice with the prosecution against CJ E&M, which provided financial assistance to movies produced by its own affiliate. However, the Fair Trade Commission only placed an order to the company to correct the practice. As a result, Kim was demoted to the head of the commission’s Seoul office, and even ordered to tender his resignation at one point. An inspection officer of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry, identified by Hyun, was called into Woo’s office and was told by Woo that “It is obvious that you were asked for and gave a business favor to an external organization, and you must confess.” Independent Counsel Park Young-soo discovered Woo’s abuse of power and referred his case to the prosecution last month.

The independent counsel indicted and arrested former Presidential Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon by discovering that he had ordered the creation of a black list of left-leaning figures in the cultural community, but when an arrest warrant for Woo was turned down, the independent counsel did not even bother to indict him without arrest. When concluding his investigation last month, the independent counsel commented on Woo’s case that it is desirable that the prosecution conducts additional investigation before seeking an arrest warrant for him.” The prosecution recently gained a raid and search warrant for the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs office at the presidential office and received documents through provisional submission. Prosecutors has revealed that they are directly taking aim at Woo for abuse of power. Woo has survived both the initial investigation by the prosecution and a probe by the independent counsel. Prosecutors should find evidence for the charges against him without fail in the current round of investigation.

While serving as a presidential secretary for civil affairs, Woo was appointed as senior presidential secretary since he was credited for effectively covering up the case over documents on Chung Yoon-hoi, a former aide (Choi Soon-sil’s ex-husband) to former President Park Geun-hye before her election, which could have provided a clue to detecting the Choi Soon-sil gate early on. After his promotion, Woo translated President Park’s orders into actions by banking on his unchecked management of personnel affairs and inspection of officials. Even so, he failed to fulfill his responsibility as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs to manage and inspect relatives and people surrounding the president. While all those involved in the Choi Soon-sil scandal has been indicted, with former President Park facing upcoming court review of her arrest warrant, only Woo, the most powerful of the Park administration’s power elites, has dodged legal actions, something that few Koreans can understand and accept.