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Former GNP Member Seo Under Court Detention

Posted August. 18, 2003 21:52,   


For the illegal fund-raising incidence during the 1997 presidential election period, Seoul local court convicted related officials including the former GNP member Seo Sang-mok.

The court pronounced him a sentence of one and a half-year in jail on August 18th for the count of illegally raising election funds through the National Tax Service.

The court also pronounced a sentence of two years in jail to the former NTS director Lee Suk-hee and a sentence of one year, a probation period of two years and a penalty of 50 million won to Mr. Lee Hoi-sung, a brother of the former GNP leader Lee Hoi-chang. It also announced a penalty of 20 million won to the former GNP financial director Kim Tae-won.

The court said in its judging statement, “Defendants argue that this case is one of the political suppression towards them. However, they would not avoid their responsibility for their own distorted political practice in asking corporations unjust campaign funds through the force of the NTS, which has a great power in tax collection.”

The court also said, “This incidence was caused by former GNP members and high officials of the NTS in the process of exerting their political influences on cash-stricken businesses right after the foreign currency crisis, with the purpose of supporting the former GNP presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang.”

It also added, “The former GNP member Seo asked Lee Suk-hee to raise election funds before the 1997 election playing a major role in the incidence.”

On the same day, the court announced a sentence of 10 months and disqualification of one year to the former National Security Department Director Kwan Young-hae indicted of his involvement in the illegal fund-raising of 300 million won from Korean Heavy Industry Co. in November, 1997.

But, the court did not put him under legal detention considering his age and illness. The former Korean Heavy Industry Co. President Park Woon-seo was pronounced to pay a penalty of 10 million won.

Former GNP member Seo was indicted for raising some 16.63 billion won worth of illegal funds from 23 companies through the NTS before the 1997 presidential election.

Soo-Kyung Kim skkim@donga.com