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Lee Ik-chi Will Be Questioned Again

Posted November. 17, 2002 23:20,   


Lee Ik-chi, former chairman of Hyundai Securities, Inc., voluntarily reported to the DA`s office in the morning on Saturday for questioning. He previously alleged that Chong Mong-jun, the presidential candidate of People`s Unity 21, played a role in the stock-price manipulation for Hyundai Electronics, Inc. in 1998.

The Criminal Division 9 of the Seoul District Public Prosecutors` Office announced yesterday that it conducted its first investigation as to the stock-price scandal, focusing on Lee`s intention and truthfulness of his statement alleging the role of Chong. The division also disclosed that it would question Lee again, once it finishes its investigation schedule.

With the investigation of Lee launched in earnest, it is expected that the ongoing presidential race may be affected severely by what the investigation would bring to the surface.

Lee held a press conference on Oct. 27th in Tokyo, and alleged, "In 1998, candidate Chong, then an advisor of Hyundai Heavy Equipment, Inc., ordered an aid package of \188.8 billion to Hyundai Electronics." The next day, the Democratic Labor Party, based on Lee`s allegation, filed a criminal claim with the prosecution against Chong alleging that Chong was a co-conspirator in the scandal.

Currently, the DA`s Office is carefully reviewing all the documents that the Supreme Court has sent to it. On the other hand, the office plans to bring in for questioning again those who were involved in the stock manipulation, including Lee Young-ki, the former vice president of Hyundai Heavy Equipment.

After Saturday`s investigation, Lee contended in a news conference, "The top brass of the Hyundai group led the manipulation. I will provide relevant evidence in a press conference as early as next week."

The DA`s office also plans to conduct separate investigations with Lee as to the $400 million secret aid to North by Hyundai Marine Merchant, Inc., and the criminal claim filed by Lee Keun-young, former head of Industrial Bank (incumbent head of the Financial Supervisory Service).

Lee was wanted by the prosecution for his alleged role in exempting his two sons from the military service. At 6:10 a.m. on Nov. 16th, he arrived at the Incheon International Airport onboard KAL 012 from L.A. Then, at around 9 a.m., he reported to the prosecution, along his lawyer.

In the meanwhile, the Special Division 1 of the Seoul District Public Prosecutors` Office will reportedly indict Lee soon without detention, since Lee admitted his role in the illegal military service exemption.

According to the special division, Lee is suspected of giving \16 million over two occasions to the officials with the Military Manpower Administration to have his second and third son assigned to a unit working with the United States forces stationed in Korea. Out of these two, the statute of limitations has not run out on the "third-son case."

Sang-Rok Lee myzodan@donga.com