S.Korean special prosecutor team raids home of former presidential chief of staff

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/12/26 9:39:14

A South Korean special prosecutor's team on Monday raided the home of former presidential chief of staff to find evidence on his suspected illegal involvement in the culture ministry's personnel management.

The raid was part of the investigation into a scandal that had led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye last earlier this month.

Local media reports showed that the independent counsel team's investigators stormed the home of Kim Ki-choon, who served as chief secretary to President Park between Aug. 2013 to Feb. 2015, to secure computer hard disks, diaries and mobile phones.

The team's deputy spokesman Hong Jung-seok confirmed the reports through a text message, saying that Kim's home is under seizure and search, but he did not elaborate further.

Kim is seen as one of key men in unraveling the complicated scandal involving President Park and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, as he is one of the closest aides to the impeached president.

He worked as the department head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), predecessor of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), in charge of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) affairs in the 1970s under former President Park Chung-hee, father of the impeached leader.

Under the Park Geun-hye presidency, Kim is suspected of having deeply engaged in the highest-level, presidential decision-making process as Park's chief secretary, including the illegalities surrounding the scandal.

The special prosecutor team searched Kim's home on suspicion that he ordered the vice culture minister in Oct. 2014 to fire six senior culture ministry officials, abusing his power. The team is reportedly investigating into Kim's illegal involvement in the culture and sports ministry's other personnel management.

The Monday search and seizure may be a sign that the independent counsel takes off his coat to its investigation into the former presidential chief of staff's involvement in the scandal.

Investigators also raided the residences and offices of the culture ministry officials, including Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun.


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