Luxury gifts for audience with South Korea39s first lady

Luxury gifts for audience with South Korea's first lady

A complaint has been filed with the anti-corruption agency against the wife of the South Korean president. She accepted a Dior bag as a gift, although there are strict regulations on this in the country.

A secretly filmed video showing South Korean presidential wife Kim Keon-hee accepting a Dior bag as a gift is causing a stir. Acceptance of gifts from public officials and their spouses is regulated by law in South Korea: the value cannot exceed US$750 at a time and US$2,200 per year.

The case came to light in November when a YouTube channel broadcast a video that a Korean-American pastor secretly recorded on a hidden camera while visiting the first lady and handing her her purse. The pastor, who is involved in religious exchanges with North Korea and advocates rapprochement with Pyongyang, said he sought a meeting with her because he was concerned about the president's tough North Korea policy.

Shepherd with luxurious gifts

The pastor said the first lady's reaction to the lavish gifts — including the Chanel cosmetics he allegedly gave her on their first meeting — led him to believe such gifts were the only way to guarantee an audience. “You could say they were like a ticket to meet the first lady,” Choi said in an interview with Portal on Tuesday.

A ruling party lawmaker close to the president said the video was an illegal trap. According to him, the Dior bag is now in the hands of the government. Some members of President Yoon Suk Yeol's conservative People's Power Party (PPP) called on him and his wife to apologize for the incident and admit that accepting the scholarship, worth about US$2,550, was inappropriate at best. . So far there has been no statement from the president and his wife on the matter. According to analysts, this risks creating a flashpoint that could ultimately cost the PPP the April 10 elections.

Comparison with Marie Antoinette

Tensions between the president's office and his party increased when a member of the party leadership compared the situation to the fame of Marie Antoinette, the French queen known for her extravagance.

In addition to the stock market scandal, the president's wife faces accusations of manipulating stock prices for around a dozen years, a case into which the opposition-controlled parliament decided last month to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.

In 2021, South Korea's first lady publicly apologized after months of allegations of falsification of professional documents and plagiarism in her doctoral thesis overshadowed Yoon's presidential campaign.

In a poll conducted this week by cable news channel YTN, 69 percent of respondents said the president needed to explain his position on the first lady controversy. According to Portal, Myongi University political science professor Shin Yul's main question is: “It could be a trap, but why did she take the bag anyway?” (Portal/jup)

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