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Prosecution to summon Moon aides for questioning

All Headlines 14:49 February 27, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- The prosecution is expected to summon a senior presidential secretary and former chief of staff of President Moon Jae-in in the near future for questioning over their alleged involvement in illegal surveillance of civilians, informed sources said Wednesday.

According to the sources, the Seoul public prosecutor's office investigating the case recently decided to summon all people implicated in the allegation.

They include former presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok and Cho Kuk, the senior secretary to the president for civil affairs.

The two, along with several other presidential aides, including the chief inspector at the office of the secretary for civil affairs, have been accused of having engaged in illegal surveillance of politicians and civilians.

Such allegations were raised by a former inspector of Cheong Wa Dae, Kim Tae-woo, who has also accused Im and Cho of having discarded his own intelligence report on a bribery scandal involving the country's ambassador to Russia.

The former inspector claimed the senior presidential officials destroyed his report in an apparent bid to protect those close to the president or the administration.

The ambassador to Russia, Woo Yoon-keun, is a former three-term lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party who is also considered a close confidante of President Moon.

Cheong Wa Dae has dismissed the accusation, claiming the report on Woo had only contained an old rumor that had already been reported by the media and determined to be false.

The former inspector was ordered to return to his original post at the prosecution late last year.

He has since raised various accusations against Cheong Wa Dae and its office of secretary for civil affairs that included illegal monitoring of civilians.

Cheong Wa Dae denies any illegal monitoring of civilians, instead claiming former inspector Kim himself had engaged in such activities despite repeated warnings from his superiors, including Cho.

Meanwhile, a prosecution official said when and where Im and Cho will be summoned will not be released to the public since they have yet to be named as suspects.

The move, however, is widely expected to prompt strong reactions, especially from opposition parties that have accused the prosecution of bowing to the presidential office.

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