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Posted : 2012-03-20 18:57
Updated : 2012-03-20 18:57

Key figure quizzed over surveillance scandal


Chang Jin-soo, a former staffer of the Prime Minister’s Office, enters the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, Tuesday.
/ Korea Times photo
by Choi Heung-su
Ex-presidential secretary admits related data deletion

By Na Jeong-ju

Prosecutors questioned Chang Jin-soo, a former staffer of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Tuesday over his revelation that Cheong Wa Dae was deeply involved in destroying evidence regarding the government’s illegal surveillance of citizens critical of President Lee Myung-bak.

Later in the day, former presidential secretary for employment and labor Lee Young-ho said at a press conference that he ordered Chang to destroy related data from computers in the PMO’s office, but that wasn’t to conceal any illegal activities.

“I ordered the deletion of the content on hard discs following the eruption of the surveillance (scandal). But the order was to keep confidential data from being used inappropriately by outsiders. It was not to destroy evidence,” Lee said. “As I ordered the deletion of the data, I will take the responsibility. But Cheong Wa Dae and I have nothing to do with the illegal surveillance.”

Concerning Chang’s claims that he received 20 million won from Lee last year in return for concealing Cheong Wa Dae’s involvement, Lee said he did give the money, but it was to help Chang who was suffering from financial difficulties.

The former presidential secretary claimed that similar surveillance activities were conducted under the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration as well, and related data was destroyed before power was transferred.

“Ask about it to the main opposition Democratic United Party leader Han Myung-sook, who worked as prime minister under Roh. She may know well what I mean,” Lee told reporters.

Lee’s allegations add fuel to the scandal, which is ripping through the political community ahead of the April 11 National Assembly elections amid forecasts that it may negatively affect the ruling Saenuri Party’s campaign.

Entering the prosecution office in Seoul for questioning, Chang, who worked at the PMO’s ethics bureau that allegedly pried into people’s lives under the direction of the presidential office, vowed to reveal the truth.

“The truth will out. I will tell everything I know (to prosecutors),” Chang told reporters.

Chang has alleged that Cheong Wa Dae orchestrated the surveillance and that he was later ordered to destroy evidence and cover up the involvement of presidential staff when the prosecution first investigated the scandal in 2010. He has also claimed that he received kickbacks from presidential aides, including Lee, last year for not revealing the truth to anybody.

In 2010, the prosecution indicted only seven low-ranking civil servants, including Chang, for the illegal monitoring. It said at the time that it couldn’t discover any evidence suggesting Cheong Wa Dae’s involvement in the illegal monitoring of citizens.

However, Chang claimed early this month that the prosecution had no willingness to uncover the truth back in 2010 because it had agreed with the presidential office to cover up the case. The prosecution, in the face of mounting public calls to get to the bottom of the case, reopened the investigation last week.

He also made a fresh allegation Monday that he received 50 million won in April last year from the office of the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs “in return for concealing the truth.”

The allegation suggests the possible involvement of Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin in the scandal. Kwon, a former prosecutor, served as the senior civil affairs secretary from 2009 to 2011. Chang claims that the ethics bureau at the PMO was directed by Kwon’s office.

A vernacular paper reported Tuesday that the money delivered to Chang might have come from a senior official of the National Tax Service, citing sources in the judiciary. The tax office flatly denied the report, but this means that Cheong Wa Dae might have colluded with the prosecution as well as the tax office to cover up the illegal surveillance case.

Chang’s lawyer Lee Jae-hwa said Tuesday his client has “further revelations to make,” signaling an uphill battle against those at the center of power.

“It’s another opportunity for the prosecution to reveal the truth behind the surveillance scandal. If it fails to do its job properly again, we will demand an investigation by an independent counsel,” the lawyer told reporters.

Chang said earlier that he decided to disclose the truth because he felt guilty about what he had done and that he was taken advantage of by the presidential staff.

The surveillance scandal first surfaced in 2008 following media reports that the PMO’s ethics bureau had conducted illegal surveillance of a businessman named Kim Jong-ik. The victim claimed he had been monitored for posting a video clip critical of President Lee and the government’s resumption of U.S. beef imports on his blog. Afterwards, several lawmakers, including Nam Kyung-pil and Chung Doo-un of the Grand National Party (now Saenuri Party), claimed that they and their family members were secretly monitored by the officials as well.
관련 한글 기사

檢 '민간인 사찰 폭로' 장진수씨 조사

장씨 "진실 밝혀져야"…내일 한차례 더 조사
장씨 변호인 "검찰수사 지켜보고 추가 폭로 여부 판단"


국무총리실의 민간인 불법사찰 관련 증거인멸 의혹 사건을 수사 중인 서울중앙지검 특별수사팀(팀장 박윤해 형사3부장)은 의혹을 폭로한 장진수 전 국무총리실 공직윤리지원관실 주무관을 20일 참고인 자격으로 불러 조사했다.

이날 오전 10시께 서울 서초동 서울중앙지검 청사에 나온 정 전 주무관은 청와대 개입을 폭로하게 된 이유가 있냐는 질문에 "진실이 밝혀져야 되기 때문"이라고 짧게 답했다.

이어 검찰조사에 임하는 심경을 묻자 그는 "있는 그대로 다 말씀드리겠다"고 밝혔다.

정 전 주무관과 함께 나온 이재화 변호사는 추가로 폭로할 사항이 있는지에 대해 "없다고는 이야기하지 않겠다. 추가 폭로 여부는 검찰 수사를 지켜보고 판단하겠다"고 말했다.

이 변호사는 또 녹취파일 일부를 갖고 왔으며 현 수사팀이 제대로 수사할 의지를 갖고 있는지를 판단한 후에 추가 자료를 제출할 것이라고 전했다.

그는 '윗선'이 들어 있는 녹취파일의 존재에 대해서는 "부인하지 않는다"면서도 녹취파일에 해당 '윗선'의 육성이 들어 있는지 여부는 현 시점에서 밝힐 수 없다고 말했다.

검찰 관계자는 이날 "조사 내용이 많아서 장 전 주무관이 내일(21일) 한차례 더 검찰에 나와야 할 것 같다"고 밝혔다.

검찰은 정 전 주무관 수사 결과에 따라 사건 관련자들을 소환할 예정이다.

증거인멸 지시 대상자로 지목된 최종석 전 청와대 고용노사비서관실 행정관, 장 전 주무관에게 '입막음용' 2천만원을 전달했다는 의혹을 받는 이영호 전 청와대 고용노사비서관 등에 대한 소환조사와 대질신문이 이루어질 가능성이 있다.

그러나 검찰이 외국에 체류중인 최 전 행정관과는 아직까지 연락을 취하지 않은 것으로 전해졌다.

이번 재수사를 위해 꾸려진 서울중앙지검 특별수사팀은 장 전 주무관이 그동안 언론 등을 통해 폭로한 의혹의 사실관계를 확인하는데 주력하고 있다.

검찰은 장 전 주무관 조사에 앞서 대법원으로부터 넘겨받은 약 2만페이지의 수사기록과 재판기록 등을 검토했다.

검찰은 장 전 주무관이 공개한 녹취 파일은 물론 사건 관련자들의 통화내역도 분석하는 것으로 알려졌다.

한편 장 전 주무관이 청와대 민정수석실에서 자신에게 5천만원을 건네며 회유했다는 새로운 주장도 제기해 이 부분에 대한 수사도 불가피할 것으로 보인다.

19일 팟캐스트 방송 '이슈 털어주는 남자'는 "청와대 민정수석실 장석명 공직기강비서관은 2011년 1월 중순에 공직윤리지원관실 이인규 전 국장의 후임 A씨를 통해 5억~10억 사이의 돈을 주겠다고 장 전 주무관에게 제안한 데 이어 같은 해 4월 중순에 5천만 원을 건넸다"는 내용이 담긴 장 전 주무관의 녹취록을 공개했다.

이에 대해 장 비서관은 장 전 주무관의 주장이 사실 무근이라고 일축했다.

앞서 이 사건으로 1, 2심에서 징역 8월에 집행유예 2년을 선고받은 장 전 주무관은 최근 "검찰의 압수수색이 있기 이틀 전인 2010년 7월7일 최종석 당시 청와대 고용노사비서관실 행정관으로부터 '민간인 사찰을 받았던 점검1팀과 진경락 과장의 컴퓨터 하드디스크를 없애라'는 지시를 받았다"고 폭로했다. (연합뉴스)

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