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(LEAD) Moon instructs Cheong Wa Dae to cooperate with probe into investment fund scandal: Cheong Wa Dae

All News 16:38 October 14, 2020

(ATTN: MODIFIES headline; UPDATES throughout with details)

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in has ordered his Cheong Wa Dae aides to cooperate "actively" with state prosecutors' ongoing investigation into a high-profile financial fraud and corruption scandal allegedly involving some former and current senior government and ruling party officials, according to his office Wednesday.

Moon stressed that no one can be immune to a strict probe by the prosecution service, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

The president was quoted as instructing Cheong Wa Dae to "cooperate actively with the prosecution's investigation to (help) clear (related) suspicions fast."

The statement represented Moon's first official response to the snowballing suspicions related to hedge funds operated by two now-defunct asset management firms -- Lime and Optimus.

President Moon Jae-in speaks at a Cheong Wa Dae session in Seoul in this file photo. (Yonhap)

The Moon administration is under heavy public criticism for having failed to protect thousands of individuals who invested into the now-defunct funds, which incurred huge losses.

Fund operators are alleged to have lobbied those in power to keep the funds afloat.

They reportedly include Kang Gi-jung, former senior secretary to Moon for political affairs; Kim Sang-jo, Moon's chief of staff or policy; and Yoon Suk-heun, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

In particular, Kang is alleged to have received 50 million won (US$43,000) in kickbacks. He admitted having met briefly with a fund operator at Cheong Wa Dae in July last year but flatly denied taking any money.

News reports said investigators are seeking relevant footage of CCTV installed at the presidential compound.

The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman, however, said it does not exist now, with the preservation period having expired.

Cheong Wa Dae plans to submit other related materials in case of requests by the prosecution service, Kang added.

The main opposition People Power Party has labeled the scandal as Lime-Optimusgate.

The ruling Democratic Party urged it to stop raising "groundless" suspicions.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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