Kim Tae-woo grilled for 2nd time on spying
Kim’s first questioning on Thursday lasted for a little over nine hours. Prosecutors said he submitted various documents that were not released to the press, including one about the allegation he was ordered to spy on private citizens. Kim’s superiors in the Blue House will likely be summoned in coming days. Prosecutors are trying to figure out whether Kim was responding to orders from the Blue House when he carried out investigations beyond his legal limits.
Kim said he was ordered to do so, but Blue House officials say the investigator acted alone. The Blue House special inspection bureau is under the office of the presidential secretary for anticorruption, Park Hyoung-chul. Park’s office, in turn, is supervised by the senior secretary for civil affairs, Cho Kuk. The bureau’s job was to look for corruption among top government officials appointed by Moon, usually ministers and vice ministers, as well as the president’s family.
But Kim, who was fired from the Blue House special inspection bureau last November on allegations he interfered in a police investigation, which he denies, claimed he was ordered to spy on private citizens and companies, as well as compile a blacklist of figures at the Environment Ministry.
Kim maintains he was fired 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, which the Blue House ignored when he raised the issue a year ago.
Kim, who originally worked at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office as an investigator, was temporarily dispatched to the Blue House’s special inspection bureau in July 2017. After the Blue House fired him, he returned to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party asked prosecutors last month to indict Moon’s aides based on accusations by Kim, and the case was referred to the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office.
On another front, the Blue House filed a complaint with the prosecution as well, asking it to charge Kim of leaking confidential information to local media about his time at the Blue House. That case was referred to the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office.
Suwon prosecutors said Friday that they raided Kim’s office at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office last Monday and confiscated documents and computer hard disks.
Kim’s email and call history was tracked for clues he leaked Blue House secrets to media outlets. Kim will soon be summoned for questioning, said the Suwon prosecutors.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN, KIM KI-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]