Official says MB received info in surveillance case

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Official says MB received info in surveillance case

Jang Jin-su, 39, the former public ethics official of the Prime Minister’s Office who dropped a bombshell with allegations that he had received hush money for the cover-up of a Blue House illegal surveillance case recently claimed both to prosecutors and a local online media source that President Lee Myung-bak had received reports about the destruction of evidence.

He indicated to prosecutors that Lee and a former high-ranking official in the Prime Minister’s Office received the report shortly before January last year.

Jang testified that he was upset after receiving a jail sentence for destroying the surveillance evidence in October 2010.

Following the trial, Ryu Chung-ryeol and Jeong Il-hwang, top public ethics division officials who had replaced those that had been indicted for the 2010 surveillance cover-up case at the Prime Minister’s Office, contacted Jang to offer employment opportunities and more money. He stated on a podcast from liberal online media source OhmyNews on Tuesday that he met with Jeong in a cafe near the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul in January 2011.

Jeong told him “the situation has just been reported to the VIP (the president),” and that a supervisor has been assigned to each of the seven indicted for destroying evidence.

Ryu initially offered him between 500 million ($440,435) to 1 billion won, said Jang, but later retracted the offer stating, “a high-ranking Prime Minister’s Office official refused to follow through [with the bribe] after I reported the situation to him.”

The high-ranking official allegedly claimed it was too dangerous of a move. However, prosecutors do not deny the possibility that Ryu might have concocted the story to avoid giving Jang 1 billion won.

Jang further said that Ryu and Jeong had offered to find employment for both him and his wife, and that he had been contacted by Blue House human resources and about other employment opportunities afterwards. Prosecutors have yet to confirm Jang’s claims.

Meanwhile, a public attorney surnamed Lee who allegedly handed 20 million won to Jang in lieu of his superior for the cover-up of a Blue House illegal surveillance of a civilian businessman critical of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008 was summoned by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors on Tuesday.


By Park Jin-seok [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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