President Park’s brother faces summons over document leak: sources

December 12, 2014


SEOUL (Yonhap) — The younger brother of President Park Geun-hye will likely be summoned by prosecutors next week for questioning over a leaked presidential document alleging that one of her former aides meddled in state affairs behind the scenes, prosecution sources said Friday.

Jeong Yun-hoe, who served as an adviser for Park when she was a lawmaker, is alleged to have held regular meetings with several senior presidential officials and sought to collude with them to replace Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon, according to the presidential document leaked to the media. He has never held any official position in the current administration.

Dismissing the document dated Jan. 6 as groundless, Jeong last week filed a libel suit against the local daily Segye Times, which first reported the allegations.

The Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office will soon notify Park’s brother, Ji-man, president of EG Corp., to appear for questioning, said the sources at the prosecution office.

The planned summons comes as the younger Park is rumored to have received more than 100 leaked presidential documents, including the document at the heart of the controversy.

The prosecution office plans to grill him on whether he actually read the documents, and whether he asked the state intelligence agency or the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, to look into documents about him.

Also, the prosecution is processing another suit filed by Jeong against a reporter of the monthly news magazine Sisa Journal for an article alleging that he hired someone to follow Ji-man.

If summoned, Park Ji-man will likely appear before prosecutors, a close aide said.

“If he avoids the first summons and faces a second and third round of summons, wouldn’t that look worse?” the aide told Yonhap News Agency by phone, speaking on condition of anonymity. “However, I have doubts about whether this is something over which President Park (Ji-man) should be summoned.”

The aide also denied speculation that Park Ji-man canceled his trip to Bangkok scheduled for Friday because he was put under a travel ban.

“He canceled (the trip) without any special reason because his plans were made public at a bad time,” the aide said.

Earlier in the day, Seoul Central District Court dismissed the prosecution’s request for the warrants to detain two police officers, only identified by their surnames Choi and Han, who are accused of leaking the document.

“There is not enough reason to detain (the two) at the present stage considering that their crimes have not yet been sufficiently ascertained,” Judge Um Sang-pil said in his decision.

The prosecution office probing the case suspects that the two officers at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency copied the document, drawn up by Park Kwan-cheon, a senior police officer, and handed it over to the media and a company employee.

Park, the 48-year-old police superintendent, had worked for the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae until early February, when he was transferred to a police station in northern Seoul.

Also, a former presidential secretary is scheduled to be summoned again early next week to face questioning.

The former secretary, Cho Eung-cheon, served as a supervisor to officer Park at Cheong Wa Dae, before resigning from the post in April.

Cho reportedly briefed Kim on Jeong’s monthly meetings with key presidential officials in an alleged bid to meddle in state affairs. Cho has been banned from leaving the country amid the investigation.

The allegations over Jeong’s behind-the-scenes intervention in state affairs have emerged as a nation-rocking political scandal, putting the Park administration in the hot seat as it enters its third year in power in late February.