Leaked U.S. Embassy Cable Warned of 'Rasputin' Behind Park

  • By Lim Min-hyuk

    October 28, 2016 12:08

    The U.S. Embassy in Korea sent a confidential report to Washington in 2007 describing then-presidential candidate Park Geun-hye as being controlled by her mentor Choi Tae-min, while his children were rumored to have amassed huge fortunes.

    According to WikiLeaks, the cable was written by William Stanton, the deputy chief of mission at the time, and sent to the State Department by Ambassador Alexander Vershbow.

    "Park has also been forced to explain her own past, including her relationship some 35 years ago with a pastor, Choi Tae-min, whom her opponents characterize as a 'Korean Rasputin,' and how he controlled Park during her time in [Cheong Wa Dae] when she was first lady after her mother's assassination."

    Grigori Rasputin was a charismatic Russian monk and faith healer who wormed his way into the confidence of the family of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia.

    "Rumors are rife that the late pastor had complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years and that his children accumulated enormous wealth as a result," Stanton said. He described Park's relationship with the charismatic pastor as "unusual."

    The report appears aimed at cautioning Washington against the risk of Choi's family abusing their influence should Park become president. Choi's daughter Soon-sil is at the heart of a widening scandal engulfing the president on much the same charges.

    Stanton wrote that then-President Lee Myung-bak's camp was "trying their best to characterize Park as not quite the unblemished princess she claims to be."

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