Recent reports have revealed that Song In-bae, first secretary of Cheong Wa Dae, has been aware but not reported to President Moon Jae-in that he received 2 million won for attending the conferences of “a group for economic coevolution” organized by a local blogger, known by his nickname “Druking,” who is suspected of manipulating online comments. Controversies are brewing over the fact that the office of the presidential secretary for civil affairs decided to close the investigation on its own about the relationship between President Moon Jae-in’s aides and Druking.
According to Cheong Wa Dae, Song has admitted to receiving a total of 2 million won from the blogger on two occasions. One was in June 2016 when Song was handed 1 million won at a café after meeting with former lawmaker Kim Kyoung-soo and the group of Druking at Kim’s office. In mid-April, Song reported to the presidential secretary office that he had introduced Druking to Kim, and the office for public office discipline under the office of the presidential secretary for civil affairs kicked off its own investigation into Song on April 20 and 26, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
However, the office ended the investigation after reporting only to chief presidential secretary Lim Jong-seok, believing that the amount of money Song received in return for attending the conferences did not go over the usual level, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Some suspect whether the presidential office tried to intentionally downplay the case by deciding to not report the investigation to President Moon even though several key aides of him are involved.
Opposition parties have demanded that an investigation led by a special counsel on Cheong Wa Dae be launched. “I believe that a special counsel investigation should be able to look into whether President Moon has been aware of the Druking case,” said Hong Joon-pyo, chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
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