An associate of software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo on Thursday told reporters that a close aide to the Saenuri Party's presidential candidate Park Geun-hye tried to blackmail Ahn so he would not run for president.
Keum Tae-sup, a lawyer, said Jeong Jun-gil, a public relations officer for Park's campaign, phoned him and threatend to reveal several suspicions surrounding Ahn. Among them is that Ahn bribed someone from a bank back in 1999, when his software company AhnLab received an investment from the bank. Another is that Ahn had an affair with a woman in her 30s who lives in Seoul.
Keum said Ahn denies the allegations.
In a fresh twist, Jeong held a press conference shortly afterwards denying Keum's claim. He said although he did talk to Keum on the phone on Tuesday, he made no threats. He said it was "a personal phone call between friends" and had not been planned by the party.
Pundits suspect that the move by such a close associate of Ahn's is a signal that the software mogul is getting ready to announce his presidential bid. There are little more than three months left until the election on Dec. 19.