Yeongpo key suspect gets called in by prosecution

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Yeongpo key suspect gets called in by prosecution

Prosecutors yesterday summoned Lee Young-ho, former Presidential Secretary for Employment and Labor Affairs, to investigate his role in an alleged illegal surveillance and power abuse case known as Yeongpo-gate.

Lee, accused as one of the masterminds behind the scandal, resigned from the post at the Blue House early last month.

According to the prosecution, Lee was present for the investigation held at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, beginning about 3 p.m.

"I will sincerely respond to the prosecution investigation," Lee told reporters before entering the investigation room at the office building.

Lee is suspected of ordering surveillance by Prime Minister's Office ethics officers on Kim Jong-ik, a businessman critical of President Lee Myung-bak, in 2008. The officers though, are not entitled to investigate a civilian.

The former Blue House official is also alleged to have made Lee In-kyu, a key figure among the Prime Minister ethics officers, brief him on the result of the surveillance although the Prime Minister's Office officials are not obliged to do so.

Lee In-kyu was summoned as part of the prosecution investigation late last month, along with several other Prime Minister Office officers involved in the surveillance scandal.

The opposition Democratic Party claimed the surveillance is a tip of the iceberg in the abuse of state power by the aides of President Lee to go after the president's critics. Both Lee In-kyu and Lee Young-ho were known to be members of the aides.

The scandal is dubbed Yeongpo-gate after the name of the group of the aides Yeongpo club. Yeongpo is an abbreviated acronym of the two areas, Yeongil and Pohang, from which the aides, mostly government officials, came. The president comes from Pohang.

After the investigation into Lee Young-ho is over, prosecutors are considering indicting Lee In-kyu and two other Prime Minister Office staff members.

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


Lee Young-ho

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