Go to contents

[Editorial] Cannot Overlook `Lee Yong-Ho`s Dubious Case`

[Editorial] Cannot Overlook `Lee Yong-Ho`s Dubious Case`

Posted September. 17, 2001 08:02,   


It is better to thoroughly clear up suspicions and rumors. The present administration and the command post of the prosecutors office know very well that increasing suspicion in society may turn into political misfortune.

One can discern similarities between the recent arrest of Lee Yong-Ho for seizing a large amount of property and fabricating stock prices and past cases of dubious nature. First, it is odd that the Seoul Regional Prosecutors Office followed the order of the National Assembly`s administrative inspection, proceeded to make an urgent arrest of Mr. Lee last Spring for the same charge of falsifying stock prices, and then let him go. It was enough to make even a Democratic Party representative ask, ``What is the reason for arresting Mr. Lee Yong-Ho, bringing in 14 employees in his affiliate corporation, collect seven boxes of documents, and then releasing him the next day?``

The fact that a lawyer associated with Mr. Lee was nominated as chief prosecutor for the case is another unusual thing that will trouble the public mind. Furthermore, the prosecutors office has also discovered that at the time of Mr. Lee`s arrest, dismissal of charges, and acquittal, the former mob boss and businessman Yuh Woon-Hwan, who is well-known in political circles, received 2 billion won to cover up the incident. A forty-year old billionaire arrested, a former mob boss making an appearance, and 2 billion won in lobbying money – it all looks very suspicious.

Second, the National Tax Office exposed KEP Electronics, an affiliate business of G&G Group operated by Mr. Lee, for falsifying its account in October 1999, yet the NTO failed to conduct a full tax audit and took an unusual course of action by merely charging a surtax of 1 hundred million won. Moreover, the prosecutors office found an internal memo from Mr. Lee`s corporation that stated `we must lobby` at the time the NTO imposed an absurdly light penalty on it. Although it acquired the memo last spring, the prosecutors office has yet to conduct a full investigation.

On top of all of this, it was discovered that Mr. Yuh received an additional 1 billion 4 million won from Mr. Lee in lobbying money for the purpose of issuing convertible bonds. It is not clear why he needed to lobby and whom he was lobbying, leaving a mountain of questions to be answered. Also, at the end of last year the Financial Supervisory Service submitted to the prosecutors office an investigation report about Mr. Lee`s stock price fabrication. The fact that the prosecutors office did not conduct a direct investigation into the matter only adds to the already mounting suspicion.

Opposition party representatives are saying that ``the ruling party is exercising its influence behind the scene. There is word that Mr. Lee has managed the finances of politicians Mr. K, Mr. H, and Mr. L under an assumed name.`` The Grand National Party is talking about investigation of the government or even a special inspection plan. The situation has come to a point where one can no longer remain neutral. It is inevitable that the ruling party or the prosecutors office will have to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the administration`s involvement.