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Cheong Wa Dae`s Alleged Attempts to Cover Some Facts about Yang`s Scandal

Cheong Wa Dae`s Alleged Attempts to Cover Some Facts about Yang`s Scandal

Posted August. 07, 2003 21:38,   


Former presidential personal secretary Yang Gil-seung turned out to have met the owner of a high-end nightclub of which the name starts with K twice in Cheongju, North Chungcheong province, before he received lavish treatment from him on June 28.

And it is reported that at the drinking party on that day, another President Roh Moo-hyun`s high school alumnus, identified only as his surname of Lee, as well as Jeong Hwa-sam, who attended the same high school as the president, was present.

"During the presidential election campaign in November of 2002, the then ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) candidate, Roh Moo-hyun, stayed at a suite of the hotel that I owns," the nightclub owner talked to a reporter of the Newsis news agency. "At that time I met Mr. Yang, who was accompanying the candidate as his protocol secretary, and gave him my business card."

"I met with him out of courtesy because an important guest spent a night at my hotel. I had no other intentions in my greeting." The nightclub owner, whose surname is also Lee, said.

Meanwhile, when the prosecution was questioning the nightclub owner on Wednesday, he made statements that he also drank with Yang and MDP Chungcheong province chapter vice chief Oh Won-bae on April 17 and that there was another schoolmate of the president on the June 28 occasion.

On Tuesday, however, after finishing its second investigation into this issue, the office of the presidential senior secretary for civil affairs failed to disclose the results that they also drank together on April 17, though the secretary`s office confirmed this. Against this backdrop, there are suspicions that the office of the senior secretary for civil affairs intentionally covered the fact that Yang and the nightclub owner drank together before the June meeting.

The senior secretary for civil affairs, Moon Jae-in, said on Thursday, "On April 17, a day before the opening event for Cheongnamdae, the vacation home for Korea`s presidents, took place, Yang visited Cheongju for the preparation of the event. That day Mr. Oh came to see Yang and they drank together at K nightclub. At that time, Oh introduced Lee, the nightclub owner, to Yang."

According to the senior presidential secretary, since their investigations were limited to June 28-29, they did not disclose the drinking earlier in April, which they thought was not significant.

When they met in April, Lee did not ask for Yang`s influence, because he was not under police investigation, the secretary added.

However, while announcing the results of the second investigation on Tuesday, Moon said, "At that time Yang knew only Oh among those who drank together. But I have no idea whether Oh intended to introduce the nightclub owner to Yang." His remarks seem to have intended to cover the fact that Yang and Lee already know each other.

"If we had announced that another person except Oh and the nightclub owner was present at the drinking party with Yang, it could have been sort of infringement of his private life," Moon`s office said. "It is not significant."

The president`s high school alumnus Lee, who works in an agricultural area, is reported to have supplied fruits to K nightclub.

yhchoi65@donga.com straw825@donga.com