South Korea’s spymasters admit giving the former president cash

Nov 23, 2017

President and cashier

“WE WORK in the shadows to protect the sunlit land.” So ran the founding motto of South Korea’s most secretive agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), tasked with foiling North Korean plots. Recently other branches of government have been exposing the shadows to a little sunlight. Earlier this year massive protests led to the impeachment of the president, Park Geun-hye, who was found to have abused her authority for personal ends. Prosecutors investigating how far the rot went have discovered that successive directors of the NIS had been delivering bags of cash to Ms Park on a regular basis. Two have been arrested, pending trial; a third has been questioned.

All deny wrongdoing. Although they admit to handing over the money, they say they thought it was for some legitimate, if unknown, purpose. The payouts came from the NIS’s “special activity funds”. This money is set aside for classified operations, and is disbursed at the...

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