Deng scandal ensnares former consul general

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Deng scandal ensnares former consul general

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A photo (top) of Kim Jung-ki, former Shanghai consul general, with Deng. According to analysis of the photo files, the top photo was taken by the same camera that took the photo of the VIP contact list (above). [YONHAP]

The scandal over three Korean consuls having relationships with a sexy Chinese siren has expanded to include the former consul general in Shanghai, whose denials that he knew the woman are being questioned.

And if former Korean Consul General in Shanghai Kim Jung-ki turns out to be yet another Korean boyfriend of Deng Xinming, the 33-year-old heartbreaker and possible spy may have penetrated the consulate in a more serious way, either to get information or secure visas, analysts said.

After several photos of Kim and Deng surfaced earlier this week, Kim told the media that he did not know the woman intimately and only had his picture taken with her at her request. He said he met Deng once at an Italian diplomatic event held at the Hilton Shanghai Hotel last Oct. 1.

But photo experts reached by the JoongAng Ilbo said yesterday that the photos - one in which Kim posed with his arm around Deng’s shoulder - were taken on June 1, 2010.

The experts said the photos were taken by the same camera, a Sony DSC-TX1, that was also used to take photos of a list of telephone numbers of around 200 high-profile government and business figures in Korea a few hours later on the same day.

That raises the possibility that Kim let Deng photograph the list while spending several hours with her on that day, observers speculate.

Deng’s Korean husband, only identified by his surname Jin, is known to have given photo files from his wife’s flash memory card to the Korean government, prompting a Prime Minister’s Office investigation into the three consuls in December. The case was disclosed to the media on Tuesday. Deng’s husband released the same photo files to the media.

Former Consul General Kim told Korean media that the digital information of the photo files could have been altered. He said that the Italian party started at 7 p.m. and that he stayed for the entire three-hour event and didn’t meet Deng again.

Kim said he is being set up by enemies, specifically mentioning a vice consul general in Shanghai in charge of intelligence. According to sources, Kim had bickered with some consuls at the consulate, including the vice consul general.

The Dong-A Ilbo reported yesterday that another photo of Kim and Deng was found to have been taken at 2:36 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2010, in the Millennium Hongqiao Hotel in Shanghai, a month after he ordered two of three consuls tied to Deng to return to Korea because of the affairs they allegedly had with her.

The list of 200 VIPs, along with emergency telephone numbers for the Korean Consulate in Shanghai and information related to the issuance of visas, were initially suspected to be leaked to Deng by the three consuls in Shanghai. Kim has admitted he had access to the same list of VIPs.

“It is one of the materials I kept at the consulate, but I don’t know how it was leaked,” Kim told reporters.

The Prime Minster’s Office opened an investigation on Kim on Tuesday.

In a bizarre twist to the case, Korean media outlets Wednesday received an e-mail supposedly from Deng’s Korean husband backing the former consul general’s claim. It was picked up by Naeil Shinmun, a Korean evening daily, yesterday, and the gist of the message was that the suggestion that Deng was a spy was actually intentionally planted because of intrigues within the consulate itself.

The daily said Jin claimed that the VIP list was not among the files on Deng’s flash memory card.

According to Naeil, Jin said yet another consul in Shanghai, who was seconded by the Justice Ministry, helped him hand over the digital files to the Justice Ministry and added the photo of the VIP list.

He said the consul wanted the list included so it would appear that Deng was spying, and therefore more deeply implicate one of the three consuls who had relationships with Deng. The targeted consul was also a fellow Justice Ministry colleague who had fallen in love with her. The inclusion of the list would make a mere love affair into a spying case, the consul said, according to Jin.

Naeil reported Jin said the inclusion of the VIP list was ordered by the current vice consul general in Shanghai. The implicated consul and vice consul general denied Jin’s claim, Naeil said.

Such a claim would lessen the seriousness of the Deng case and the graveness of the diplomats’ relationships with her.

Yet when the JoongAng Ilbo contacted Jin, he denied sending the e-mail to the media outlets and said that someone must have hacked into his e-mail account to send the message. Jin told the JoongAng Ilbo that the VIP list was among the files sent to the government.


By Moon Gwang-lip, Kang chan-ho [joe@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article[중앙일보]

‘덩신밍 스캔들’ 조작 의혹까지…이귀남 “범죄 사실 나오면 수사”

‘덩신밍 스캔들’을 둘러싼 의혹이 증폭되고 있다. 관련자 간 진술이 엇갈리는 가운데 9일 당사자의 e-메일 계정을 도용한 ‘조작 메일’까지 언론사에 유포됐다.

9일 오전 이번 사건의 첫 제보자인 덩의 남편 J 씨(37) 명의로 “내 와이프(덩)의 컴퓨터엔 국내 정·관계 인사 200명의 연락처는 없었다”고 주장하는 메일이 본지를 포함한 국내 일부 언론에 배달됐다. 그러나 J씨는 10일 본지 등에 “그런 메일을 보낸 사실이 없다”며 “누군가 (이번 사태를) 조작·은폐하려는 것 같다”고 밝혔다.


9일 J씨 명의의 ‘naver’ 계정으로 배달된 e-메일은 “본인이 법무부에 제출한 것으로 보도된 자료 중 정·관계 인사 200명의 자료는 솔직히 제 와이프(덩)의 컴퓨터에 들어 있지 않은 것”이라고 주장했다. 이어 “법무부 감찰관실에 자료를 보낼 당시 잘 알고 지내던 상하이 G영사의 내부통신망을 통해 보냈는데, 이 과정에서 제출하지 않은 자료도 제출한 것으로 돼 있었다”며 “G영사에게 (이유를) 물었더니 ‘J부총영사 때문에 어쩔 수 없었다’며 미안하다고 했다”고 주장했다. 이어 “(G영사는) 이 문제를 치정 문제로만 몰고 가면 (덩과 부적절한 관계인) H영사(41)가 사표를 쓰고 중국에 올 수 있으니 국가기밀 유출 문제로 몰고 가야 한다는 것이었다”고 주장했다.

국정원 소속 J부총영사와 법무부 소속 G영사가 덩과 한국 영사들의 ‘부적절한 관계’를 국가기밀 유출사건으로 확대하려고 없던 자료를 끼워넣었다는 것이다. 이는 김정기 전 상하이 총영사관이 “이번 사건은 (국내) 정보기관이 나를 음해하려는 음모”라고 주장한 내용과 상통한다. 그러나 J씨는 10일 다른 계정으로 본지 등에 메일을 보내 “그동안 열어보지 않던 웹메일(naver)에 접속했더니 휴지통에 내가 보낸 걸로 돼 있는 두 통의 메일이 들어 있었다”며 “모두 가짜이고, 황당하다”고 주장했다. 이어 “(문제의 메일에서 거론된) G영사는 이름 정도만 알며 J부총영사는 누군지도 모르는 사람”이라며 “(괴메일의) 배후엔 김 전 총영사를 비호하려는 세력이 있거나, 덩과 H영사의 소행일 가능성이 있다”고 주장했다.


G영사도 이날 본지와 통화에서 “J씨가 1월 중순 ‘아내가 죽이겠다고 협박해 두렵다’며 신변 보호를 요청하는 전화를 한 차례 걸어와 상부에 보고한 것 외엔 얼굴조차 본 적이 없다”며 사건 연루 의혹을 부인했다. 법무부 김영진 대변인도 이날 “법무부 감찰관실에서 지난해 12월 말 J씨와 통화한 뒤, 그로부터 네 차례에 걸쳐 e-메일로 영사들의 사진과 유출자료(정·관계 인사 200명의 연락처) 등을 직접 전달받았다”고 밝혔다.

정부는 이날 총리실과 법무부·외교통상부 직원 9명으로 짜인 합동조사단을 13일 상하이 현지에 보내 조사에 착수키로 했다. 그러나 관련자들 간에 진술이 워낙 엇갈리고 중국 국적인 덩은 조사 자체가 불가능해 진상 파악에 한계가 있다. 게다가 언론에 조작 메일을 보낼 정도의 ‘작전세력’이 존재할 가능성이 드러난 만큼 진실 규명이 쉽지 않으리란 지적이다. 이귀남 법무부 장관은 국회 법사위에서 “합동조사반에서 전면 재조사한 뒤 범죄가 될 만한 사실이 나오면 바로 수사하겠다”고 밝혔다.

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