January 24, 2017 11:23
Former Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Yoo Jin-ryong on Monday said he repeatedly warned President Park Geun-hye in 2014 over a blacklist of "hostile" artists that she claims to have no knowledge of.
Speaking to reporters before questioning by an independent counsel, Yoo said ex-presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon spearheaded the compilation of the blacklist "to discriminate and exclude those who do not agree" with the government from public funding.
"When discrimination against particular artists and entertainers was taking place, I told President Park on Jan. 19 of 2014 that she should not be doing such things," Yoo said.
"I told her again around July 9 of the same year that she could cause a lot of problems by doing that, but my warnings were ignored."
Yoo was then fired and replaced by Kim Jong-deok, who has been indicted and has testified that he briefed Park about the blacklist.
Ministry staff have also testified that Kim Ki-choon, an ancient retainer to the Parks since the days of strongman Park Chung-hee, was behind the enforcement of the blacklist by ministry officials. The list included nearly 10,000 artists, writers and entertainers.
Park's lawyers last week denied she knew anything about the blacklist and sued a reporter for saying that she ordered it.
Meanwhile, the independent counsel has succeeded in the unusual move of getting an arrest warrant for Park's longtime crony Choi Soon-sil, who is already in jail, because she has obstructed the ongoing investigation. The warrant is technically on a charge for which she is not yet on trial.
Investigators plan to question her later this week.
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