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Prosecutors seek to detain Lee Yoo-mi over fake tape

June 29,2017
Prosecutors on Wednesday requested a pre-trial detention warrant for Lee Yoo-mi, a member of the People’s Party, who allegedly produced a phony audio tape alleging the son of President Moon Jae-in used his father’s influence to land a job at a state-run entity.

The request for the warrant came as Lee has been intensely questioned over what led her to fabricate the audio tape and whether she was instructed to do so by a senior within the party.

The scandal has engulfed the party of 40 lawmakers and become its biggest political crisis. In fact, the party’s acting chief, Park Joo-sun, said on Wednesday if the party’s senior members were revealed to have been involved, the party should “be disbanded.”

Park added, “If there was systematic involvement by those within the party, it means this party has been promoting the politics of crime.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office raided the homes and offices of Lee Yoo-mi and Lee Jun-suh, a former supreme council member of the party suspected of having instructed the former to make the phony audio tape.

On the tape, a person from the Parsons School of Design graduate school who is alleged to be a friend of Moon’s son, Moon Joon-yong, claims Joon-yong landed a full-time job at the Korea Employment Information Service (KEIS) in late 2006 because his father was senior presidential secretary for civil affairs.

The person also alleges that Joon-yong applied for the position after he was told to do so by his father.

Moon Joon-yong studied design and technology at the Parsons School of Design in 2010.

Lee Yoo-mi allegedly made the tape, using her brother in the role of school friend, before giving it to Lee Jun-suh.

Lee Yoo-mi also allegedly gave Lee captured shots of a three-way group chat, which she alleged involved herself and two of Joon-yong’s friends from Parsons. One person says in the chat that Joon-yong had talked about a “free pass” he got into KEIS. The People’s Party said on Wednesday that Lee Yoo-mi played all three parts using three different mobile phones.

Lee Jun-suh told reporters near his house Wednesday he had not instructed Lee Yoo-mi to produce the fake tape and that he would testify before prosecutors. The People’s Party likewise said Lee Yoo-mi acted alone.

Rep. Lee Yong-ju of the People’s Party, who led the fact-finding committee for the Ahn Cheol-soo campaign, disclosed captured messages between the two Lees, in which Lee Jun-suh pressed Lee Yoo-mi to present more evidence to back up the allegations after the May 5 press briefing during which the Ahn campaign cited the audio tape and the three-way chat.

“If you look into the chats, we can conclude that Lee Jun-suh was not aware of the fact that it was fabricated by Lee Yoo-mi,” said the former prosecutor. “He would not have made such a demand had he known they were fake.”

Meanwhile, former party co-chairman and presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has yet to comment on the evolving crisis as of Wednesday, sparking criticism among those within the party that he should come forward to take responsibility as a former party candidate.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]