Finance ministry to refer opposition lawmaker to state prosecutors over gov’t budget files leak

SEJONG, South Korea's finance ministry said Thursday that it plans to refer a veteran opposition lawmaker to state prosecutors so as to assist in the probe into allegations that his aides accessed digital files on the fiscal budget and other confidential state statistics without proper authorization.

Last week, prosecutors raided Rep. Shim Jae-chul of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party's office at the National Assembly on accusation that his secretaries illegally downloaded files from a public finance website run by the Korea Public Finance Information Service.

The conservative LKP denounced prosecutors' raid as a "grave suppression" of the opposition party, vowing to use all means available to deal with the situation.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has already lodged a complaint with the prosecution seeking a criminal probe into his aides on possible charges of violations of information and telecommunications laws.

It claimed Shim's aides accessed the documents and leaked them illegally.

The lawmaker has strongly denied the allegations and lodged a complaint against the government, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon and others for false accusation.

Shim has said his aides were authorized to access the files, which were used for the parliamentary audit.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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