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Indep. Counsel Song Still Pining over Extension

Posted June. 19, 2003 21:55,   


Independent Counsel Song will announce his position regarding extension of the authorized investigation period, which is to expire on June 25. He has been investigating Kim Dae-jung`s secret dealings with Kim Jong-il.

“Internally, we have reached the conclusion that an extension must be made,” said a source on the investigation team. “We will make our official position public sometime tomorrow.”

Since it was found that former Culture Minister Park had received 15 billion won from Hyundai, there seems to be a legitimate reason for the extension, believes Independent Counsel Song.

Under the law, with authorization from the President, an independent counsel can have a 30-day extension after the first 70 day period has passed. Thereafter, the counsel can extend the period for another 20 days also with the approval of the President.

The court has issued a search warrant for Independent Counsel Song, authorizing him to trace the money trail of the 15 billion won bribe that Park reportedly received from Hyundai.

“Some politicians argue that the 15 billion was a political fund. It was simply a bribe. It is our duty to find out where the money was spent,” said a source on the investigation team.

Meanwhile, Independent Counsel Song sent an official request to the Ministry of Justice, asking for prompt notification upon the arrival of Kim Young-wan, the main money-laundering suspect who worked with Park.

On the other hand, Park is categorically denying all charges and has launched lawsuits against Lee Ik-chi.

leon@donga.com jarrett@donga.com