LKP asks to investigate Moon spokesman

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LKP asks to investigate Moon spokesman

The main opposition party asked the prosecution on Wednesday to investigate President Moon Jae-in’s spokesman, Park Soo-hyun, for making public the contents of documents left by predecessor Park Geun-hye and offering the records to an independent counsel for investigation.

The legal advisory council of the Liberty Korea Party filed a petition to the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office to investigate Park and other Blue House officials involved in the handling of the documents, which were discovered this month in the presidential compound. The conservative party was the ruling party during Park’s presidency and she is still one of its members.

“We are concerned that the Blue House’s leak of the presidential records works as a specific guideline to the prosecution for an investigation,” said Won Young-sup, a legal adviser of the party. “We are also worried that it is an infringement upon judicial independence. We want a thorough investigation.”

The Blue House announced on Friday and Monday that hundreds of documents produced during the Park administration were discovered inside cabinets of the offices used by the secretary for civil affairs and senior secretary for political affairs. During the Friday briefing, the presidential spokesman made public some of the content of the documents, which discussed the Park Blue House’s plan to support the generational power shift of Samsung Group through the National Pension Service’s voting rights.

The impeached president, her friend Choi Soon-sil and Samsung leader Lee Jae-yong are currently undergoing trials over the allegations that the nation’s largest conglomerate bribed Park and Choi in return for political favors. The Blue House offered copies of some documents to the independent counsel team, which investigated the abuse of power and bribery scandal. The independent counsel turned them over to the prosecution for a further probe.

While the Blue House said its handling of the documents is legitimate because they are not marked as presidential records that are supposed to be sealed in the archives, the Liberty Korea Party said it leaked national secrets to the media. “The briefing was about the issues of the Park administration’s operation of state affairs,” it said, “and they were secrets worth protecting.”

They also said the Blue House violated the Presidential Archives Management Act by offering copies to the independent counsel.

In addition to the two batches of documents, the Blue House said more were found in the National Security Office and the State Affairs Situation Office. Presidential Spokesman Park said Tuesday night that “massive amounts” were discovered, but refused to elaborate on the accurate numbers and contents.

The Blue House and the ruling party also said the documents were left behind, whether it was intentional or not, but officials who worked in the Park Blue House raised questions about the authenticity of the discoveries. “All staffers knew that every record needs to be sent to the presidential archives during the final two months,” said a former senior secretary of the Park Blue House.

A former staffer of the senior secretary for political affairs also challenged the Blue House’s account that the second batch of the documents was found inside an intern’s cabinet in his office. “An intern does not handle documents,” he said. “At least two people made clear on May 8 that the cabinet was empty.” The presidential election took place on May 9 and Moon took office the next day.

Amid the controversy surrounding the documents, the Moon Blue House introduced a new system that requires all documents to be created, managed and stored online.

BY SER MYO-JA, KO JUNG-AE [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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