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Probe to focus on economic crimes

Posted April. 15, 2001 18:01,   


The prosecution will focus its investigation on economic crimes involving insolvent financiers and entrepreneurs. Meeting on Saturday, chief special prosecutors from all cities and provinces resolved to concentrate their energies on uncovering and prosecuting business and banking irregularities and similar offenses at small industries including venture business that may entail losses of public funds.

Those offenses would include embezzlement, illegal loans and other cases of graft causing subsequent injection of public funds that were committed by officers of banking organizations; concealment of property by big stockholders of bankrupt financial institutions or executives of distressed companies; fraud related to money borrowed by book-rigging or doctoring of performance records and diversion of funds obtained for starting up a business or from housing mortgage by using falsified papers. Activities related to the theft of sophisticated technology from another venture firm, the setting up of a similar venture business by stealing technical secrets from peer firms or seeking profits through stock manipulation, instead of developing skills, would also be targeted for intensive inquiry.

It was decided that those special prosecutors should work closely together with the Board of Audit and Inspection and the National Tax Service, and they would meet regularly every three months. The prosecution officials said that mismanagement and corruption were largely to blame for all the troubled enterprises and violators would suffer from the attachment of levies and seizure of property in addition to criminal penalties. They said that investigations that had been launched last December into irregularities involving public servants and social leaders would continue.

Some prosecutors noted with regret that in some previous cases, such as probes into draft evaders and the graft scandals that emerged last year, they had started with a big bang but ended with few results. They said that it was necessary to go about the job steadily and silently to the end.

Lee Soo-Hyung sooh@donga.com