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Cho Kuk quizzed by prosecutors again in ex-vice mayor's bribery case

All News 14:39 January 06, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- Cho Kuk, former justice minister and senior presidential secretary, was again questioned Monday over his suspected role in ending an inspection into bribery allegations involving a former Busan vice mayor.

Cho reportedly attended a questioning at the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors Office as part of an ongoing probe surrounding allegations that some presidential officials deliberately closed an inquiry into bribery allegations of former Busan Vice Mayor Yoo Jae-soo.

Yoo, former deputy mayor of economic affairs in the southeastern port city, was indicted and detained for accepting bribes worth 49.5 million won (US$42,347) during his term at the state financial regulator.

While Yoo was under surveillance by Cheong Wa Dae's special inspection team in 2017, supervised by then-civil affairs office chief Cho, he avoided punishment despite suspected bribery. In 2018, Yoo became Busan's vice mayor.

The development raised suspicions that some presidential officials may have engaged in a cover-up of the bribery case.

Monday's questioning, the third time state prosecutors have called in Cho regarding the alleged cover-up, comes roughly 10 days after a Seoul court rejected the prosecution's request to detain Cho on charges of power abuse.

The Seoul Eastern District Court denied the arrest warrant sought against Cho, saying that although the charges have been supported there is no concern the suspect will destroy evidence or flee.

Following the court's decision, Cheong Wa Dae said it "respects" the court's decision, which shows that prosecutors' arrest warrant request against Cho was "unreasonable."

Prosecutors, however, said they will "do (their) best to reveal the truth related to this case."

This file photo shows Cho Kuk, former justice minister and senior presidential secretary. (Yonhap)


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