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CIO chief says first lady can be summoned in principle over gift case

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The head of the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO) Oh Dong-woon speaks at a National Assembly in Seoul, June 14. Yonhap

The head of the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO) Oh Dong-woon speaks at a National Assembly in Seoul, June 14. Yonhap

First lady Kim Keon Hee can be summoned by the state's anti-corruption investigation office to face questioning over her acceptance of a luxury handbag from a Korean American pastor in 2022, its head said Friday.

Oh Dong-woon, the head of the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO), made the attention-getting remarks at a session of the National Assembly's Legislation and Judiciary Committee, when an opposition lawmaker asked if it would be difficult to call in the wife of President Yoon Suk Yeol.

"In principle, I think a summons can be made if there is a clue related to the investigation or if there is a need to do so," Oh said.

But he refused to elaborate on whether the CIO is investigating the first lady or whether witnesses and accusers have been questioned, only saying that everything will proceed according to the procedures.

Kim's acceptance of the Dior bag from pastor Choi Jae-young in September 2022 is already under investigation by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, but the case has also been filed with the CIO.

A civic activist filed a complaint with the CIO last December against President Yoon and the first lady on charges of bribery and anti-graft law violation in connection with the Dior gift case.

Opposition lawmakers also asked whether the CIO is willing to investigate the president over allegations of external pressure placed on the military investigation into last year's death of a young Marine, and Oh said he remains unchanged in his belief that anyone suspected of a crime can be subject to investigation. (Yonhap)



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