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Cheong Wa Dae voices regret over speculation on clothes of first lady

All News 11:13 March 31, 2022

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday expressed regret over what it called "indiscriminate" speculation that first lady Kim Jung-sook might have used taxpayer money to buy her clothes during President Moon Jae-in's five-year term.

Park Soo-hyun, senior secretary for public communication, made the remarks a day after the presidential office denied the speculation that Kim might have used off-the-record expenses for her clothes.

"We express regret over indiscriminate speculation raised by political circles over Cheong Wa Dae's special activity expenses and costs of first lady Kim Jung-sook's clothes and accessories," Park said.

Kim's purchases of clothes, jewelry and accessories have recently drawn attention on social media. Rep. Chung Mi-kyung of the conservative People Power Party has demanded Cheong Wa Dae disclose how much she spent on such items.

The so-called special activity expenses are allotted to the prosecution, the national spy agency and other select government organs for intelligence operation purposes, and information on how they are spent is kept confidential.

Park said the Board of Audit and Inspection has annually inspected special activity expenses used by Cheong Wa Dae and there was no wrongdoing over the use of such spending over the past five years.

The Moon administration set an annual average of 9.65 billion won (US$7.9 million) for the presidential office's special activity expenses, and it marked the lowest spending since 1994, when such spending was introduced for Cheong Wa Dae, Park said.

Earlier this month, Cheong Wa Dae appealed a court ruling that the presidential office should disclose information on its off-the-record expenses, including those spent on clandestine operations and the first lady's spending, as part of protocol.

Cheong Wa Dae decided to appeal the ruling after taking various elements into consideration, including the fact that a disclosure could undermine the public interest.

Cheong Wa Dae voices regret over speculation on clothes of first lady - 1


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