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Police question pastor in luxury gift case involving first lady

A Korean American pastor appeared before police Thursday for questioning on charges of intruding at the first lady's office in order to secretly film himself handing over a luxury handbag. The pastor, named Choi Jae-young, has been accused of intentionally approaching first lady Kim Keon Hee and secretly filming the delivery of the handbag, worth 3 million won (US$2,210), allegedly prepared by Voice of Seoul, an internet news outlet. Civic activists filed complaints to the police after the internet news media made public the video filmed by Choi in November last year. Choi denied the allegations against him, claiming the meeting took place with consent from the first lady and that the essence of the case is the violation of anti-graft law. "(Offering gifts) was part of an undercover journalism investigation to verify the first lady, and she failed. Although no requests were fulfilled, the mere effort to meet those requests and the pretense of doing so is, strictly speaking, a meddling in state affairs," h e claimed as he appeared before the Yeongdeungpo Police Station in western Seoul earlier in the day. He said he is willing to be punished if he must be accountable for offering various gifts and attempting to seek various favors, but asserted that the first lady should also face punishment. The pastor plans to submit text messages from Kim's secretary, detailing the time and place of the meeting as evidence to the police. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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