Former Blue House investigator lawyers up

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Former Blue House investigator lawyers up

A former Blue House inspector turned whistle-blower hired a high-profile lawyer on Sunday who previously served as chief prosecutor of the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office.

The inspector’s accusations have wreaked havoc on the Moon Jae-in administration.

The inspector in question, Kim Tae-wu, exclusively told the JoongAng Ilbo in a telephone interview that he chose Seok Dong-hyeon, managing partner at the law firm Daeho, to represent him.

Seok used to represent former Defense Security Command chief Lee Jae-su. Lee leapt to his death earlier this month amid an ongoing investigation by the prosecution on allegations of power abuse. Lee was accused of ordering illegal surveillance of the victims of the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking’s family members when he was head of the intelligence command in order to clamp down on the families’ critiques of the Park Geun-hye administration for botched rescue operations.

“I have to start legally defending myself now, but days just fly by receiving calls from here and there,” Kim told the JoongAng Ilbo. “There are limits to dealing with the situation all by myself.”

Kim denied media speculation that the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) was sponsoring his legal fees, denying any “weird rumors” that he was combining forces with the conservatives. Kim said he’s never given the party any evidence to support his arguments against the presidential office, and that he’s only been telling the local press about them.

The LKP has taken every chance to blame Moon and his inner circle for abusing their authority by cracking down on members of the public ever since Kim told media outlets that he was ordered by the Blue House to spy on private citizens outside his legal limits and compile damning reports that would support the policy decisions of Moon’s aides.

Kim’s war against the Blue House began on Dec. 14 when he told major broadcaster SBS that he thinks he was fired by the presidential office the previous month for authoring a report that accused Korean Ambassador to Russia Woo Yoon-keun of taking a 10 million won ($8,900) bribe in 2009 from a businessman who asked him to pull strings to help a family member land a job. At the time, Woo was serving as a Democratic Party lawmaker.

The Blue House denied that account and said Kim was fired last month for trying to interfere in a police investigation linked to Kim’s acquaintance, which Kim denies. Kim, who was temporarily dispatched to the so-called special inspection bureau of the Blue House in July 2017, returned to his original post working as an investigator at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office after the Blue House fired him last month.

The prosecutors’ office has been looking into the Blue House’s allegations against him since then. The allegations include suspicions he interfered in police work, golfed with a KT executive who informed Kim about misconduct allegedly committed by an official at the Ministry of Science and ICT and also applied for a job at the Science Ministry when he was supposed to be monitoring the ministry for possible corruption.

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