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Prosecution to Probe Cheon Yong-taek’s Allegations

Posted August. 04, 2005 03:13,   


On August 3, Public Security Department Two (head prosecutor: Seo Chang-hi) of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ Office, which is currently investigating the illegal eavesdropping scandal caused by the National Security Planning Agency (NSPA), the predecessor of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), is planning to summon former NIS director Cheon Yong-taek, who is charged with conniving at the illegal bugging operation when impounding illegally recorded tapes made by the NSPA, sooner or later, in a bid to probe into these allegations.

Former director Cheon is also suspected of utilizing the illegally wiretapped tapes, including delivering some of the tapes that was withdrawn from the former head of the clandestine bugging team (codenamed Mirim of the NSPA), Gong Un-young (58), in 1999 to bigwigs of the Kim Dae-jung administration.

The prosecution is also planning to summon the former minister of Culture and Tourism Park Ji-won, who is charged with receiving recording logs from Korean-American Park In-hoe (58), who is currently in custody on a charge of threatening the Samsung Group with the illegally bugged tapes in an attempt to extort money, sooner or later, once again, in order to investigate whether he used them for other purposes.

An official of the prosecution said, “The fact that the former minister Park received recording logs is not regarded as a crime, but if he used them in an illegal manner, his action would be deemed as a crime.”

Regarding a supplementary investigation into the allegations of attempted extortion in which the Korean-American, Park, asked for money from the Samsung Group while notifying it of the existence of illegally bugged tapes, the prosecution is considering investigating then Samsung Group’s chief of staff Lee Hak-soo (who is currently the head of the corporate restructuring office of Samsung Group) as a witness as well.

As the investigation into Gong, who is currently in the hospital, goes into the third day, the prosecution probed into how the bugging operation had been run and the number of illegally wiretapped tapes leaked.

An official of the prosecution said, “The prosecution investigated into whether the suspicions of leaking the illegally recorded tapes are true in a bid to confirm some Gong’s statements that are inconsistent with his earlier statements and to prepare for warrant examinations slated for August 4.

Tae-Hoon Lee jefflee@donga.com