Labor aide gave W40M to Jang in surveillance case

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Labor aide gave W40M to Jang in surveillance case


The official that provided 40 million won ($35,226) to cover the attorney fees for Jang Jin-su, 39, former official for the Prime Minister’s Office, is an aide to the former Minister of Employment and Labor, prosecutors revealed.

Previously, Jang stated that in August 2010 he expressed to Choi Jong-seok, a former labor affairs staffer at the Office of the Senior Secretary to the President, that he “needed 15 million for attorney fees.”

According to Jang, Choi replied at that time, “Someone will call you shortly so meet him and receive the money.” Jang stated that he received a phone call and met with a Labor Ministry official who gave him 40 million won. Jang claimed he spent 15 million won on attorney fees and gave the remaining 25 million to Choi.

Jang, a former low-level official at the civil service ethics division of the Prime Minister’s Office, is currently under investigation after making the allegation that high-ranking Blue House officials were involved in the illegal surveillance of a civilian businessman critical of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008.

He also claimed he received 20 million won in return for keeping silent on the link between the Blue House and the illegal surveillance, as well as 50 million won and 40 million won alleged to have come from other officials from the Blue House as rewards for keeping the surveillance secret.

According to Seoul Central District Prosecutors on Saturday, Jang had the name of Lee Dong-gul, aide to Yim Tae-hee, the Labor Minister between September 2009 to July 2010, saved in his cell phone.

Jang testified to prosecutors last week that he “saved the names of those who had provided funds in 2010” in his cell phone, and that if he hadn’t received money he would “have no reason to save their names.”

But Lee Dong-gul, who had been avoiding contact with the media since Friday, told the JoongAng Ilbo in a phone call yesterday, “It is true that I delivered the 40 million won, but there is no problem with the money because it was from his acquaintances who gathered the money to help out a friend in need.”

He further said that former Labor Minister Yim Tae-hee, also a former Blue House Chief of Staff, and Lee Young-ho, the president’s former secretary of labor affairs, were not involved in the matter.

Lee Dong-gul was the former head of the KT trade union. In tandem with other telecommunication union activists he declared support for President Lee Myung-bak during the December 2007 presidential race.Since April 2008, he has been a Labor Minister policy aide, and he runs Minister Yim’s Daum Internet portal fan cafe site with over 13,000 members.

Jang previously told local media that the Office of the Senior Secretary to the President for Employment and Social Welfare ordered him on July 7, 2010, to destroy the computer hard disks of the officials who were involved in the Lee administration’s alleged illegal surveillance against a local businessman who posted a video clip lampooning the president in 2008.

By Park Jin-seok, Lee Yoo-jeong []
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