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(4th LD) CIO checked phone logs of Yoon and his wife: PPP

All News 17:06 December 29, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 4-6, 13)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) -- The state anti-corruption investigation office has checked the phone logs of main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife, a campaign official said Wednesday, accusing the powerful agency of a widespread illegal surveillance campaign.

The Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO) has come under fire following revelations that it obtained the phone records of journalists, politicians and their family members in an alleged attempt to identify the source of leaks to the media.

Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential nominee of the main opposition People Power Party, speaks during an event at a cafe in Seoul on Dec. 28, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential nominee of the main opposition People Power Party, speaks during an event at a cafe in Seoul on Dec. 28, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Yoon of the People Power Party (PPP) and his wife, Kim Keon-hee, were among those subject to the surveillance, according to Yim Tae-hee, a senior official of the party's election campaign committee.

"We are witnessing something that can't possibly happen in a democratic nation," Yim said during a press conference at the National Assembly. "Just based on what has been revealed so far, the circumstances show there was illegal surveillance of 78 National Assembly members, 10 instances against the candidate, and seven instances against the candidate's spouse."

Yim said some of the instances involved the prosecution and the police, not the CIO, and that the information obtained from Yoon's records included names, resident registration numbers, phone numbers and addresses.

Yim added that he expects the numbers to increase and that he was also informed of surveillance against youth activists critical of the Moon Jae-in government.

The PPP said earlier in the day that a total of 70 of its 105 lawmakers in the 295-member National Assembly had had their phone logs checked.

Floor leader Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon and chief policymaker Rep. Kim Do-eup were among those on the list. Seven aides to lawmakers were also subject to the surveillance, the party said.

Yoon wrote on Facebook that if elected, he will demand accountability from those responsible for the CIO's "illegal actions."

"The reasons we need a change of government through the upcoming presidential election are growing one by one," he wrote. "The biggest reason is the CIO."

The CIO was launched in January as part of the Moon Jae-in administration's drive to reform the prosecution. The office is tasked with investigating corruption among senior public officials and their families.

The PPP has demanded the CIO's chief step down, and called for the office's abolition.

On Thursday, the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee will hold a plenary session to address the controversy with CIO chief Kim Jin-wook in attendance.

Sources said the prosecution has opened a probe into Kim following a complaint filed by a civic group.

The civic group claimed the CIO looked into the phone records of some 70 journalists and private researchers, and accused the investigative body of abuse of power.

Rep. Yoo Sang-bum (C) of the People Power Party speaks to reporters before submitting a complaint against the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials for its alleged illegal surveillance of PPP lawmakers at the Supreme Prosecutors Office in Seoul on Dec. 22, 2021. (Yonhap)

Rep. Yoo Sang-bum (C) of the People Power Party speaks to reporters before submitting a complaint against the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials for its alleged illegal surveillance of PPP lawmakers at the Supreme Prosecutors Office in Seoul on Dec. 22, 2021. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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