LKP will file complaint over ‘absurd’ probe

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LKP will file complaint over ‘absurd’ probe

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said Friday that it plans to file a complaint against a vice finance minister after the ministry asked the prosecution to launch a probe into a lawmaker over a Blue House budget leak.

Rep. Shim Jae-chul of the party and his aides are being investigated over allegations that they accessed digital files on the fiscal budget and other confidential state statistics without authorization.

His office was raided last week, drawing an angry reaction from Shim, who said his aides discovered documents about illicit spending by those who accompanied President Moon Jae-in on an overseas trip. The Finance Ministry lodged a complaint against Shim on Thursday.

Kim Sung-tae, the floor leader of the LKP, said that his party plans to fight back with a complaint of its own against Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-jin.

“It is absurd that [the government] filed a complaint with prosecutors against an opposition lawmaker over what occurred in the process of securing data ahead of a parliamentary audit,” Kim said at a meeting with party officials.

He vowed to thoroughly review details about what’s spent by the Blue House and the government in the name of operational expenses.

“If there was room for suspected misuses, we will ask prosecutors to investigate all of those who were suspected of misappropriating public funds and embezzling them.”

Shim claimed Thursday that the Blue House spent some 240 million won ($215,750) in operational expenses improperly at nighttime and on weekends between May 2017 and August 2018.

The presidential office rebutted this claim on Thursday, saying that it is inevitable for its officials to handle state affairs beyond business hours, given that the nature of their work requires urgency and security and trade issues call for around-the-clock readiness.

Meanwhile, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) said that it will petition the parliamentary ethics committee to look into Shim.

“It was another crime that he disclosed details about Blue House expenses without checking basic facts, on top of illegal data leaks,” said Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the DP, at a meeting with senior party officials.

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