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[Editorial] Easy to Find out Truth about $400 Million. Then, Do it Now!

[Editorial] Easy to Find out Truth about $400 Million. Then, Do it Now!

Posted September. 27, 2002 23:04,   


Without any further rationalization and comments, it commands our priority to find out the genuineness of the allegation that our government secretly gave $400 million to North in return for North’s cooperation in planning and hosting the June 15th North-South summit. Just delaying the task would not help anybody. It was a “transaction” made between corporations on behalf of North and South. Thus, unless the accounting records were intentionally manipulated, an investigation will surely bring about the truth regarding the whole matter since it was not a deal between two individuals and the amount involved was gigantic.

The government, without making any explanations or disclosing the details about it, is just brushing off the allegation as one of those politically motivated ones. But that is not a wise reaction. By doing so, Kim Dae Jung administration, which has boasted the improved relations with North as its No. 1 achievement, is smearing its own trophy. If the administration keeps killing the time just by delaying a probe into the allegation, it is simply inflating the suspicions of the public concerning this matter.

Lee Keun-young, head of Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), commented, “The FSS could not conduct an probe into bank account transactions when it involves a private company.” But we could not think of any reason supporting his argument. Even during the term of Kim Dae Jung administration, the FSS has conducted the probe over quite a number of occasions. This matter might bulldoze out all the achievements of this administration. It is that much serious. With regard to a matter of such seriousness, the excuse the FSS has come up with is too flimsy.

What people really want to know is the whereabouts of the $400 million. Industrial Bank has been contending that the money was for helping Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. (HMM) get over its financial difficulties. But the money was given to it in a lump sum. It is extremely unprecedented. Since no direct records on the money given to Hyundai in the name of financial aid exist, to find out the whereabouts of the money, a comprehensive investigation and comprehensive determination shall be made based on the overall flow of the company’s money.

It should be also brought to light what connections this government has with Hyundai Group. There is a suspicion about the flow of fund between Hyundai Group affiliates. 8 Hyundai affiliates including the HMM were suffering from lack of funds. Under this circumstance, they have invested a total of 450 billion won into Hyundai Ahsan Co. for its projects in North. Without any backup from politicians, it would not happen to an “ordinary” company.

Without revealing the truth behind the matter, Kim Dae Jung administration is just trying to picture the allegation as a politically motivated one or a groundless argument. It sounds weird. All citizens are paying careful attention to the “real story” behind the allegation that North and South cut a secret deal at around the summit. It is not a matter that can be brought to an end through political negotiation.