Ex-presidential aide didn't actually meddle, prosecutors say

Ex-presidential aide didn't actually meddle, prosecutors say

SEOUL - Allegations that a former aide to South Korean President Park Geun-hye interfered in national politics are false, prosecutors reported Monday, drawing a sharp response from the opposition.

Jeong Yun-hoe, who served as Park's top aide back when she was a legislator, was meeting regularly with high-ranking officials and meddling in personnel decisions, the Segye Ilbo newspaper reported in November. The article was based on a leaked internal document.

South Korean media have pointed to Jeong as the one secretly pulling the government's strings. An article by the then-Seoul bureau chief of Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper also speculated that he was romantically linked to the president -- a charge the government has denied.

Park has dismissed the recent allegations as groundless rumours, but they sent her approval rating down to a record-low level in the 30s this December.

The then-official who authored the document handed it to the president's younger brother, Park Ji-man, under orders from a presidential secretary, according to preliminary findings of the investigation. The secretary likely hoped to advance his own position by winning the favour of the younger Park, who was at odds with Jeong.

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