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Former vice culture minister returns home after questioning over blacklist allegations

All Headlines 10:19 January 01, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- A former vice culture minister returned home Sunday after the independent counsel team investigating a corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her friend questioned him over the alleged existence of a blacklist of cultural figures critical of the government.

The team, led by Independent Counsel Park Young-soo, queried former First Vice Culture Minister Kim He-beom for some 17 hours over allegations that Kim Ki-choon, former presidential chief of staff, interfered with top-level appointments at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2014.

The former vice minister was also questioned over the suspicion that the Park government had blacklisted artists and other cultural figures deemed to be critical of government policies. The list was purportedly drawn up to ban any government support of the figures in question.

The former presidential chief of staff is rumored to have directed Kim He-beom in October 2014 to receive resignations from six high-ranking officials at the ministry, some of whom had reportedly been against the blacklisting of artists. Three of the six officials have resigned.

Former Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong said in a recent media interview that former Vice Minister Kim Chong had handed over the blacklist to Kim He-beom as well as the former presidential chief of staff.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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