중앙데일리

‘Yeongpo-gate’ latest test for the Lee government

‘불법사찰 피해자’ 오늘 검찰 조사
Prosecutors question spied-upon businessman today

July 07,2010
A chagrined Prime Minister Chung Un-chan faces angry Democratic Party lawmakers at the Central Government Complex yesterday as opposition party members paid a visit to condemn the administration’s abuse of power. [NEWSIS]

Prosecutors are swiftly moving to investigate the so-called “Yeongpo-gate,” an illegal surveillance scandal that’s become the government’s latest embarrassment ahead of upcoming by-elections.

Prosecutors said yesterday they will ask Kim Jong-ik, a businessman who was allegedly subjected to an illegal probe by the Prime Minister’s Office, to appear for questioning today.

“We will proceed with our investigation into this case as quickly as possible and examine the allegations thoroughly,” said an official of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.

The prosecution said it will also summon key persons suspected of conducting the illegal surveillance, including Lee In-kyou, a public ethics official at the Prime Minister’s Office. Lee and two or three other officials at the Prime Minister’s Office have already been placed on the list of people banned from leaving the country, it said.

On Monday, the prosecution formed an investigative team comprised of three prosecutors and 15 lower-level inspectors after it received a request from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Prime Minister’s Office conducted its own investigation last week of public ethics officials suspected of conducting illegal surveillance on Kim and concluded that some of them needed to be investigated by prosecutors for possible abuse of power.

Kim, 56, a former businessman, claimed that he was illegally surveilled and investigated by the ethics officials in 2008 because he uploaded a video clip critical of the Lee Myung-bak administration onto his blog. The public ethics team is authorized to investigate public servants, but not ordinary citizens.

Opposition parties are calling the case “Yeongpo-gate,” because some of the people involved belong to the Yeongpo Club, an organization of public servants from the Yeongil and Pohang areas of North Gyeongsang established in 1980. Yeongpo is an acronym that combines the names of Yeongil and Pohang, the latter of which is President Lee’s hometown. Opposition parties say the illegal investigation was an abuse of public power by the Yeongpo Club on behalf of President Lee.

Lee ordered a swift investigation into the case and punishment for anyone found guilty.

Legislative by-elections, another litmus test for public support for the president, are coming up on July 28.

Opposition parties are expressing skepticism over the objectivity of the investigation and demanding an independent prosecutor be appointed to take it over.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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이인규씨 이르면 내일 소환



총리실 민간인 불법 사찰 파문‘민간인 불법사찰 의혹’을 수사 중인 서울중앙지검 특별수사팀은 7일 오후 2시 불법사찰의 피해자인 김종익(56) 전 NS한마음 대표를 참고인 신분으로 불러 조사할 예정이라고 6일 밝혔다. 수사팀은 김씨를 상대로 총리실이 어떠한 불법행위를 했는지 물어볼 계획이다. 수사팀은 또 이인규 공직윤리지원관과 김모 점검1팀장, 조사관 2명 등을 출국금지했다. 이르면 8일부터 이들을 피의자 신분으로 소환할 방침이다. 이 지원관 등 4명의 불법사찰에 상급자가 개입했을 가능성을 확인하기 위해 전화통화, e-메일 등 내역을 확보키로 했다.

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