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Kwon Claimed MDP Responsible for Money He Raised

Posted August. 13, 2003 21:10,   


As Kwon Roh-kap, a close aide to former President Kim Dae-jung, who was arrested for taking 11 billion won from Hyundai during the 2000 general elections has claimed that the money he had received was delivered to help ruling party lawmakers, the slush funds scandal is evolving into a heated political debate over election funds.

Lee Suk-hyung, a defense lawyer for Kwon, said Wednesday, “Following former President Kim`s instruction that, in case of insufficient election funds, the ruling party should fund the general elections by borrowing needed money from outside sources. He raised a total of 11 billion won, including 1 billion won from Kim Young-wan, and 5 billion won from other two people respectively and delivered the collected money to the Millennium Democratic Party. Later, the ruling party repaid 80 % of the money he had borrowed.”

Meanwhile, Lee Hoon-pyong, a close associate with Kwon, insisted that the ruling party should assume responsibility for the money in loans by saying, “Mr. Kwon failed to pay back the 1 billion won that he had borrowed from arms dealer Kim, along with the 2 billion won from two other lenders. In the process of borrowing the money, Kwon only served as a guarantor, therefore, the ruling party should repay the loans.”

Kim Ock-doo, then ruling party secretary general during the parliamentary elections, also said, “Kwon paid collected money from his acquaintances on the party`s account while the ruling party was suffering from election fund shortages,” backing the claim made by the Kwon`s side.

He also added, “Everything was done in accordance with due procedures required by election laws and we have related documents. The raised money was distributed to party`s local chapters to finance the general elections. After the election, the party reported the election spending to the nation`s election watchdog.

Stepping up its stakes against the government and the ruling MDP, the main opposition Grand National Party urged them to disclose all related documents and admit doctoring accounting books, criticizing that the ruling party is trying to cover up its illegal fund raisings for the general elections in 2000.

Sung-Won Park swpark@donga.com