Choi Soon-sil's Family 'Bankrolled Park's Entry into Politics'

      November 22, 2016 11:14

      The family of President Park Geun-hye's crony Choi Soon-sil gave Park W250 million in 1998 when she was running for a National Assembly seat, the Segye Ilbo reported Monday (US$1=W1,183).

      Earlier, TV Chosun quoted Choi's half-brother Cho Soon-je as saying Choi's mother hauled a suitcase full of money to Park's constituency in the conservative stronghold of Daegu in 1998.

      According to the Segye Ilbo, Choi's family forked over huge sums of money in the by-election in 1998 and general election in 2000, while Choi's mother Lim Sun-yi lived with Park in an apartment in Daegu during the campaigns.

      Choi's former driver, identified only by his surname Kim, told the daily, "Lim told me that she and her four daughters put up W50 million each which was to be delivered to Daegu. I drove Lim and the bag of money to the apartment in Daegu where Park was staying."

      Kim said he carried another bag full of money down to Daegu during the 2000 general election. "It looks like Choi told her family to contribute money, but Soon-deuk (Choi Soon-sil's sister) must have refused, claiming she had to borrow the money," Kim said. "Then Soon-sil called Soon-deuk in the car and told her, 'Don't ever ask me for any more favors again. Mind your own business.' After that her sister paid up without asking questions."

      Kim said only Lim, Park and a maid on loan from Choi Soon-deuk lived in the apartment in Daegu. "Lim was probably the only person Park talked to at that time," he added.

      The revelations, if true, would shed light on the wretched question why Park felt so beholden to Choi as to enlist her entire office in her friend's extortion scams.

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