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Prosecution Investigates Allegations Surrounding Hong

Posted September. 29, 2005 03:05,   


The investigation team of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ Office, currently looking into the bugging scandal involving the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and its predecessor, the National Security Planning Agency (NSPA), has found circumstantial evidence that the NIS conducted illegal wiretappings on international phone conversations of bigwigs, including politicians, under the Kim Dae-jung administration, and is probing into it.

Regarding the contents of an illegally recorded tape confiscated at a former NIS agent’s home early this month as international phone conversations between former NIS director Lee Jong-chan and JoongAng Ilbo journalist Moon Il-hyun, the prosecution is investigating into how the former NIS employee obtained this tape. However, the former NIS official has reportedly denied his involvement in leaking and hoarding the tape.

Meanwhile, the inspection office of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office was confirmed yesterday to have summoned Hong Seok-jo, the head of the Gwangju High Prosecutors’ Office, who is marked as a delivery channel of Samsung Group’s kickback, in order to get to the bottom of the allegations that prosecutors had taken kickback from Samsung Group, which was mentioned in the bugging tape made by the NSPA.

The prosecution reportedly investigated whether Hong had actually received kickbacks from Samsung Group and if his elder brother, former Korean ambassador to the U.S. Hong Seok-hyun, had a step in the process.

On top of that, prosecutors were said to have sent a written inquiry to question the allegations surrounding Hong to his elder brother, but they have yet to receive an answer from him.

Hong reportedly said, “Given my situation in which I have worked for the prosecution, it is unimaginable to take such prodigious money from Samsung and distribute it to the prosecutors.”

Tae-Hoon Lee jefflee@donga.com jin0619@donga.com