North Korea's leader is believed to have sent one of his top aides to a farm for "re-education" over the poor construction of a power plant near the North Korean border with China.
South Korean lawmakers gave reporters the news Tuesday after it was reported by South Korea's National Intelligence Service in a closed session.
Choe Ryong-hae, a top advisor to leader Kim Jong Un, is reported to have been sent away earlier this month. Questions had risen about his status after his name was left off the attendance list for a state funeral for a military marshal in early November.
Kim earned a reputation for ruthlessness after the execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek, a high-ranking official, in December 2013 on charges of treason and corruption.