October 30, 2014 12:42
A National Assembly audit of the presidential office on Wednesday scrutinized the baffling appearance on the staff roster of a fitness trainer to the stars.
Yoon Jeon-choo, a one-time personal trainer to actress Jeon Ji-hyun and other showbiz luminaries, was appointed to a director-level post at Cheong Wa Dae early last year.
Her credentials were reported by the media in August, prompting many to wonder whether she is simply taking President Park Geun-hye through her Pilates exercises or whether she has other hidden talents.
Lawmakers on Wednesday wanted to get to the bottom of media reports that Cheong Wa Dae purchased expensive fitness equipment from overseas around the time Yoon started working there.
Choi Min-hee of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy said she had information that Cheong Wa Dae purchased around W100 million (US1=W1,048) worth of fitness equipment when Yoon was hired.
"Cheong Wa Dae has set up a Pilates studio to keep the president in good shape," Choi said. "That raises suspicions that Yoon was hired to keep the president fit and not to serve on her administrative staff," Choi added.
But Lee Jae-man, the presidential secretary for general affairs, claimed Cheong Wa Dae has a fitness studio for all its staff as well as correspondents. Choi pointed out that the equipment is for private training, but her allocated questioning time had expired.
A Cheong Wa Dae official later claimed Yoon's role is to serve as Park's "personal secretary."
The official said, "She tends to the president up close and handles jobs that male staffers can't, such as helping her change into new wardrobes during overseas trips."
She shadows Park and is among the last to board the presidential jet and among the first to disembark, he added.
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