New tablet shows signs of Samsung link to Choi

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New tablet shows signs of Samsung link to Choi

The independent counsel said Tuesday that Jang Si-ho has submitted through her private lawyer a new tablet PC purportedly used by her aunt, Choi Soon-sil, from July to November 2015, in what appears to be the 38-year-old’s latest attempt to dodge any responsibility in the corruption scandal.

Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the counsel, said during a regular briefing that the tablet, which was handed in last week, holds “numerous emails” about Samsung Group’s hefty donations to Choi and her family and also her founding of a company in Germany.

Also discovered on the device was an edited version of a speech made by President Park Geun-hye on Oct. 13, 2015, during a meeting with her senior secretaries at the Blue House.

Lee said his team concluded that the tablet was personally used by Choi after checking the email account, user name and contact information saved inside.

The device is separate from the one cable broadcaster JTBC, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, discovered late last year, which began the massive media investigation of President Park and her cronies.

Jang, who led a winter youth sports center that was financed with 1.6 billion won ($1.3 million) from Samsung, has adamantly denied any wrongdoing, asserting that she simply followed orders from her aunt and that Choi masterminded the entire scheme.

Choi refuted the testimony when she was questioned by the National Assembly’s investigation committee two weeks ago, saying she had never asked Samsung for funding.

She also denied using the tablet obtained by JTBC, saying she didn’t know how to manipulate the device, sowing long-held doubt by Park apologists that the broadcaster fabricated its exclusive reports.

The independent counsel stated early on that the tablet was indeed used by Choi.

Samsung is suspected to be the largest sponsor of Choi-related affairs, funneling nearly 30 billion won in total.

That includes sponsorships of the athletic career of Choi’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, overseas shell companies run by Choi, the winter youth sports center led by Jang, as well as the Mi-R and K-Sports foundations, which Choi set up supposedly to finance President Park after she leaves office.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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