Counsel’s raid on Blue House is rebuffed
At first, the team of the independent counsel headed by Lee Kwang-bum agreed to meet Blue House officials at the training institute of the Financial Supervisory Service in Jongno District, central Seoul, at 2 p.m. to receive documents and hard drives requested last week from the security service, which arranged the land purchase in Naegok-dong, southern Seoul, where the president’s retirement home was to be built.
“We discussed the time and method for the confiscation with the Blue House,” a spokesman of the team said.
But when the team checked the evidence, they discovered the Blue House had not really surrendered the materials they requested.
The Blue House rejected the raid. Under the law, legal enforcement agencies can’t raid the Blue House without its approval.
As to a plan to interrogate the first lady, Kim Yoon-ok, a counsel team official said they will question her in writing.
“We concluded we will send questions to Kim because we considered her position as the first lady,” a spokesman told reporters.
On Friday, the team requested an additional 15 days to complete its work, which has to be authorized by President Lee. Otherwise, the independent counsel’s 30-day probe will end tomorrow.
“They have done enough,” an official of the Blue House told reporters. “Most officials in the Blue House have strong negative sentiments about the extension.”
Sources in the Blue House said many officials view the counsel’s investigation as being very political.
The independent counsel has not obtained the original promissory note signed by the president’s 34-year-old son, Si-hyung, to borrow 600 million won ($550,000) from his uncle Sang-eun, who is chairman of DAS Corporation.
By Shim Sae-rom, Kwon Sang-soo [firstname.lastname@example.org]