Choi recorded instructing aide

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Choi recorded instructing aide

Choi Soon-sil, who held no official position in the government, gave policy instructions to one of President Park Geun-hye’s most trusted aides over the phone as if she were his boss, according to recordings of conversations between Choi and Jeong Ho-seong, a former personal secretary for Park for 18 years, which were recently obtained by prosecutors.

The JoongAng Ilbo reported on Tuesday that in the recordings Choi was heard giving policy outlines related to senior secretariat meetings at the Blue House.

The revelation sheds light on another layer of Choi’s clandestine political influence.

The report came as prosecutors found multiple recordings between the two from two phones that are registered under a false name and were used by Jeong.

Recordings of the conversations between Jeong and President Park were also found, according to prosecutors, who declined to elaborate on the details.

It is reported Choi was talking to Jeong as if she were talking to her subordinate, even though she held no position in the presidential office. Choi’s attitude even caught prosecutors by surprise, according to the JoongAng Ilbo.

Android phones have a function for recording phone calls. Apps are also available for recording calls on iPhones.

Jeong reportedly told prosecutors he had handed over classified material to Choi in consideration of her relationship with President Park, an exchange that was exposed after JTBC, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, exclusively reported on about 200 files found on a tablet PC allegedly used by Choi.

JTBC reported that several documents found on the tablet were created using an ID that Jeong used at the Blue House.

Jeong was one of Park’s three closest aides in the Blue House, along with Lee Jae-man, former presidential senior secretary for administrative affairs, and Ahn Bong-geun, former presidential senior secretary for public relations. The three were nicknamed the president’s “three doorknobs.”

The trio left the presidential office on Oct. 30 when Park accepted their resignations in an attempt to appease growing public outrage over Choi’s unlawful influence.

Jeong is being detained on charges of leaking classified material to Choi via email.

It is known that Jeong began to work for President Park in 1998, when she was first elected to the National Assembly, as a personal aide at the recommendation of Chung Yoon-hoi, the ex-husband of Choi Soon-sil.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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