May 14, 2013 10:06
The chain of events that led to the abrupt firing of presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung during President Park Geun-hye's U.S. trip is becoming clearer.
Yoon stands accused of sexually molesting an embassy intern, and Cheong Wa Dae has said it wants to get to the bottom of the matter.
In a phone interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Monday, the driver assigned to Yoon said after Park left an official event around 9 p.m. Tuesday night, he picked up Yoon and the intern and at Yoon's request went with them to a bar on the top floor of the W Hotel. But it was full, so they headed to another bar in the basement.
He said Yoon and the intern drank about two bottles of wine over the course of two hours while the driver had three soft drinks.
Yoon by contrast claimed during a press conference on Saturday that the bar on the top floor of the hotel was too expensive, so he headed to a shabby-looking one in the underground level where they drank for half an hour.
The driver said when the bar closed around midnight, the two continued to drink in the hotel lobby while he waited outside.
He waited for about 10 minutes and nothing unusual happened while they sat together. He said he then took the two to the Fairfax Hotel, where they had been put up.
Yoon has told reporters that the driver was present during most of the night. But it was some time that night that Yoon allegedly grabbed the woman’s buttocks.
Other sources say Yoon called the intern several times in the early hours of Wednesday after the two returned to the Fairfax Hotel. One official at the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. said, "The intern said she returned to her hotel room after midnight on Wednesday and fell asleep, only to discover later that Yoon had called her two or three times until 5 a.m."
Yoon apparently continued to drink after the intern headed up to her room and was spotted in the hotel in a completely intoxicated state at around 5 a.m.
In the morning, Yoon called the intern over to his room. He has reportedly confessed to Cheong Wa Dae officials that he was naked when the woman appeared in front of his door.
The woman appears to have fled and told the story to her roommate at the hotel, a staffer with the Korean Cultural Organization, who called the police.
Someone then immediately booked a flight for Yoon. Before leaving for Dulles Airport later that morning, Yoon stopped by the hotel room of senior presidential secretary for public relations Lee Nam-ki to discuss what to do with other members of the presidential office.
There are also accounts that Yoon had started drinking on Tuesday afternoon. One official who was part of the presidential entourage said, “He smelled of alcohol when I met him at an official venue in the daytime.”
If that account is true, Yoon would have consumed a considerable amount of alcohol. The ex-spokesman allegedly told the intern at the bar later that night, "Today is my birthday, but nobody is congratulating me. I'm so lonely."
Cheong Wa Dae records show Yoon's birthday is July 17.
A Cheong Wa Dae official later said Yoon admitted his transgressions during an internal investigation, but in an SMS to several journalists he later denied this.
Yoon also threatened to sue the reporter who had testified he saw him returning to his hotel completely drunk on Wednesday morning.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com