S. Korea's Ambassador to France Questioned over Culture Ministry Blacklist
SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Ambassador to France Mo Chul-min was questioned by investigators Thursday over allegations the presidential office created a "blacklist" of cultural figures considered critical of the conservative government.
Mo, who served as senior presidential secretary for education and culture from 2013 to 2014, returned to South Korea on Wednesday, following a summons from the independent counsel team looking into a massive influence-peddling scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.
The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae reportedly drew up the list of more than 9,000 people in the cultural industry and handed over that list to the culture ministry to restrict them from receiving government sponsorships.
Author Han Kang, winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2016, and director Park Chan-wook, who won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, are known to be on the list, though the investigation team declined to confirm.
Mo declined to comment on the allegations as he entered the investigators' office.
The team led by independent counsel Park Young-soo has been accelerating its probe since its official launch last week, summoning a number of figures implicated in the scandal.
President Park is awaiting the Constitutional Court's ruling after the country's parliament voted to oust her on Dec. 9. The court has up to six months from the date of the vote to decide whether to approve the impeachment or to reinstate her.'