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First Trial for Cash-for-Summit scandal to be Held Today

First Trial for Cash-for-Summit scandal to be Held Today

Posted July. 03, 2003 22:00,   


First trial for the so called “cash- for-summit” scandal will take place Friday at Seoul District Court. Heated debate is expected whether sending money to North Korea should be regarded as a political activity. Special prosecutors and defendants are expected to exchange fierce accusations over the charges on individual defendants such as influence peddling.

Insisting that the cash remittance to the North should be seen as a highly sophisticated political activity for nation`s interests, the defendants have argued that they should not be subject to criminal penalty. On the other hand, special prosecutors argue that sending cash to North Korea is a violation of law.

Park Ji-won, the former minister of culture and tourism and Lee Ki-ho, the former economy advisor to the president Kim Dae-jung, are strongly denying their charges on influence peddling. They have argued that they never put pressure on the Korea Development Bank to give loans of 400billion won to Hyundai for sending cash to North Korea

In the document submitted to special prosecutors` investigation, Jeong Mong-heon, the chairman of the board of directors for Hyundai Asan, said that the former administration suggested to offer SOC worth of $ 2 to 3billion such as rice, fertilizer to North Korea during the preliminary meeting in early 2000 for inter Korean summit.

However, the document said, the North refused. Instead, North Korea demanded $1 billion in cash to Hyundai for giving license to do business in the North.

According to the document, the summit between South and North Korea almost failed to be materialized due to differences between Hyundai and North Korea over the amount of cash. Both sides finally agreed on $500million dollars including $50million in cash at the meeting in Beijing April 2000. The North mentioned many times that the summit could be cancelled if the cash was not sent to the North before the summit, according to the document submitted by Jeong Mong- heon.

Jin-Kyun Kil leon@donga.com