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Former President Kim D.J. Can Be Banned from Leaving Nation

Former President Kim D.J. Can Be Banned from Leaving Nation

Posted April. 03, 2003 22:19,   


Kim Dae-jung, former president, could be included in s list of people banned from leaving the country in connection with an investigation of the "North Korea payoff scandal," independent counsel Song Doo-hwan said on Thursday.

His saying seems to mean that he regards the former president as an object of investigation and that he could call in the former president, if necessary, for inquiry.

Asked by reporters if former president Kim Dae-jung can be banned from leaving the country, Mr. Song responded, "An exit ban can be imposed on former president Kim if necessary."

However, he hinted that even if his investigation begins in earnest, he would not ban Mr. Kim from leaving the nation out of courtesy to a former chief of the state adding, "Do we really need to impose an exit ban [on the former president]? He understands [that he should not leave the nation.]"

Meanwhile, on the same day, the Seoul District Public Prosecutor`s Office, which has been in charge of the investigation of the scandal, said that seven people were additionally banned from leaving the nation on March 26. Those seven include former presidential chief of staff Park Jie-won, former director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Lim Dong-won, former presidential economic assistant Lee Ki-ho, ruling party leader Han Kwang-ok, former chairman of the Financial Supervisory Committee Lee Keun-young, and deputy director of the NIS Kim Bo-hyun.

The additional bans increased the number of people banned from going abroad to 24, including Chung Mong-hun, chairman of Hyundai Asan, Kim Yoon-kyu, president of Hyundai Asan, and Om Nak yong, former Korea development Bank governor.

With respect to the additional banning, independent counsel Song said that he was informed of the additional exit bans on people including Park Jie-won from the prosecution. He went on to say that he understood that the prosecution took proper measures in advance for his investigation in the future.

"Early next week the line-up of my investigation team will be decided. Once it is done, we will receive investigation documents from the prosecution and start reviewing them," Mr. Song said.

Jin-Kyun Kil leon@donga.com