Go to contents

Prosecution: “Cheong Wa Dae Asked for Information Before Jeong’s Resignation”

Prosecution: “Cheong Wa Dae Asked for Information Before Jeong’s Resignation”

Posted August. 29, 2007 07:22,   


It was confirmed that one of President Roh Moo-hyun’s close aides, Jeong Yun-jae, 43, a former presidential secretary, is deeply involved in a bribery case in which Jeong Sang-gon, director of the real estate taxation bureau of the National Tax Service, 53, took 100 million won from the owner of a construction company located in Busan.

Prosecutor Jeong Dong-min at Busan District Prosecutors’ Office, who is in charge of the case, announced yesterday that, “The Dong-A Ilbo’s report that last August, Jeong, the former presidential secretary, introduced Kim, the owner of construction company, to Jeong, who served as director of National Tax Service (NTS), has been confirmed as true.”

According to the prosecutors’ office, Kim, a long-time acquaintance of the former presidential secretary, asked Jeong to introduce him to NTS director Jeong; And, in August of last year, Kim finally met the NTS director at a Korean restaurant located in Jongno-gu, Seoul, through Jeong’s arrangement. After a short time, the former presidential aide left the meeting.

The investigation of the prosecutors’ office also revealed that Kim already met Jeong in mid-August, requesting that he reduce the penalty tax on H and J companies, and not to expand tax inspection on I company. Thereafter, Kim asked secretary Jeong to make arrangements to meet the NTS director in private.

A prosecution official also said, “NTS director Jeong and Kim have already admitted that they both had dinner with Jeong at the presidential secretary’s invitation.”

However, the former presidential secretary lied at an interview with Dong-A Ilbo on last Monday, saying that, “Even though I know NTS director Jeong well, I didn’t take part in their deal.” Besides, he, in an interview with Yonhap News, said, “Actually, it is true that I made an arrangement for the two to meet, but it was not the dinner now in question.”

The Prosecutors’ Office also revealed: “When carrying out the investigation, we received a call from Cheong Wa Dae asking if presidential secretary Jeong was involved in this case and if it would be fine to accept his resignation. We answered that Jeong just let them meet each other and there is no evidence that Jeong received any money related to this case.”

However, Cheon Ho-seon, a presidential spokesman, said at a briefing yesterday, “Cheong Wa Dae had no information about this case when the case was being investigated, and we just came to know what is going on after suspects started to be arrested;” adding, “Don’t you think that it is out of the question to ask for the information from the prosecutors’ office to decide Cheong Wa Dae’s personnel matters?”

Meanwhile, a day after NTS director Jeong was arrested, on August 10 of this year, the presidential secretary turned in his resignation, and director Jeong was indicted on August 16.

The presidential spokesman stressed again that, “Cheong Wa Dae had no idea about this incidence from start to end;” also saying, in response to a question about the reason for Jeong’s resignation: “From the end of this month, Jeong was going to give a lecture in a university in Busan, and, therefore, his successor has already learned the work from him. With South-North summit talks announced early this month, Jeong’s leaving took place earlier than scheduled for the preparation of the summit talks.”

Cheon also said, “We don’t think it is necessary that Cheong Wa Dae conduct a special investigation on this case because it has already been thoroughly investigated by the prosecution.”

Regarding this, the main opposition Grand National Party said, “It is questionable that Jeong left office right after the NTS director was arrested, as well the fact that there are many suspicions in the outcome of the prosecution’s investigation.” He also calling an explanation, saying, “Jeong should reveal why he was involved in this case, what kinds of relationships exist between Kim and himself, and why he left office early.”