|Kim Hak-ui (Yonhap News)|
Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui resigned Thursday amid alleged involvement in a sex-for-favors scandal, dealing a fresh blow to President Park Geun-hye.
Police have reportedly obtained statements from a woman hired by a contractor to perform sexual services for the official in 2009 at a country house in Wonju, Gangwon Province.
After his name was disclosed by news media earlier in the day, he denied having received sexual services in exchange for exerting his influence.
“Though all these allegations are not true, I acutely feel that I could not carry out my crucial duty,” he said in a brief statement.
“I am resigning in the hope that I would not be a burden to the new government any more.”
He expressed regret about what he claimed were groundless reports, saying they seriously damaged his honor and family life.
Cheong Wa Dae said the president would accept his resignation.
He was named to the No. 2 post at the Justice Ministry on March 13.
The fresh allegation raised doubts about the presidential office’s personnel-screening process, coming shortly after several of Park’s nominees withdrew and as others face pressure to quit over ethical misdeeds.The rumor on the scandal have been circulating for more than six months. Sources say Cheong Wa Dae was briefed about the scandal only a while ago and asked the police to secure the video of the official having sex with a woman hired for the purpose.
Kim was appointed before the allegation surfaced, a presidential staffer said, meaning that Cheong Wa Dae had no connection to the scandal.
Kim is reportedly one of a number of social elites who were invited to a series of banquets hosted by the contractor surnamed Yoon between 2008 and 2011. Yoon, 51, is accused of filming officials and others having sex with women he hired. Sources say that he might have used the footage to blackmail the officials for business favors.
The list of public figures that reportedly received sexual services from Yoon includes other high-ranking officials, lawmakers and executives at media firms. The police said they would question those influential figures mentioned by the witnesses or identified by surveillance cameras installed near the country house.
Officials at the National Police Agency said they imposed a travel ban on Yoon and summoned his nephew, who is thought to have collaborated with Yoon. The police said they were checking his laptop to verify the existence of the sex videos.
“We can’t confirm whether the video files (stored in the computer) are related to the case or just obscene materials circulating in the market,” an official said.
The police also confirmed that Yoon won the bidding for a sports complex construction project ordered by one of the police’s affiliates. Reports are raising questions about whether a former senior police official peddled his influence for Yoon to win the project worth billions of won.
“We are investigating a series of Yoon’s irregularities. We will check on details later on because we are still in the process of the preliminary investigation,” an official said.
The case came to the attention of police after a woman filed a complaint against Yoon and his colleague for rape and extortion late last year. The woman surnamed Kwon told police that her assistants found a number of CD-ROMS in a car she had lent Yoon that showed big name officials and women having sex.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org
<관련 한글 기사>
김학의 법무부 차관 사표
최근 건설업자의 성접대 사건에 연루됐다는 의혹이 제기된 김학의(57•사법연수원 14기) 법무부 차관이 21일 사표를 제출했다.
김 차관은 이날 A4 용지 1장 분량의 입장 자료를 내고 "모든 것이 사실이 아니지만, 저의 이름과 관직이 불미스럽게 거론된다는 사실 자체만으로도 저에게 부과된 막중한 소임을 수행할 수 없음을 통감하고, 더 이상 새 정부에 누가 되지 않았으면 하는 마음으로 직을 사임하는 것"이라고 말했다.
이어 "확인되지도 않은 언론 보도로 인하여 개인의 인격과 가정의 평화가 심각하게 침해되는 일이 더 이상 없기를 바란다"고 말했다.
김 차관은 "저는 이제 자연인으로 돌아가 반드시 진실을 밝혀, 엄중하게 책임을 묻고 명예를 회복할 것"이라고 덧붙였다. (연합뉴스)