Ahn Cheol-soo says he’s ‘devastated’ by smear scandal
“This fake audio scandal can not be justified under any circumstances. I was shocked to it hear about it when it first emerged,” said the former party chairman in a somber tone.
“I bow my head in apology to the people who endorsed me [in the May 9 election),” said the former candidate at a packed briefing room at the party headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul.
Ahn did not declare his retirement from politics as a way of taking responsibility for a scandal that has sent his party’s approval ratings to the single digits.
Instead, the software mogul-turned-politician said he would spend time “in self-reflection.”
“I will give up everything and spend time in self-reflection,” he said. “I will look back on the past five years that I have spent as a politician.”
Ahn’s press conference on Wednesday came 16 days after the party first acknowledged it had used a phony audio file to smear the Moon Jae-in camp on May 5, just four days before the election. The phony audio file and faked screen grabs of a group chat alleged that Moon’s son landed a full time job at a state-run institute in 2006 thanks to his father’s senior role in the Roh Moo-hyun Blue House.
Hours before Ahn’s apology, Lee Jun-suh, Ahn’s ally and a former member of the party’s decision-making body, was detained after a local court granted a pre-trial detention warrant for him demanded by the prosecutors. Lee is accused of knowing that the audio file and screen grabs created by Lee Yu-mi, a party member, to smear Moon could have been fake. Lee Yu-mi is being detained as well.
BY KANG JIN-KYU [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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