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Prosecutors Track Down 10 Bank Accounts of the MDP

Posted November. 05, 2003 22:54,   


“Illegal funds have been raised in the presidential election.”

On November 5, the supreme office of the prosecutors’ central department noticed that, in connection with the funds of President Roh Moo-hyun during his presidential election period in 2002, when he was a candidate, these funds had already been issued a search warrant. Ten formal and informal bank accounts of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) are being tracked down intensively.

Moon Hyo-nam, coordinator of the investigation at the supreme office of the prosecutors, set up a press conference saying, “According to the phase of the investigation, bank accounts of the MDP will become the target of the investigation. In order to check on the scale and whereabouts of the funds, all bank accounts of the MDP and the GNP (Grand National Party) will be hunted down.”

As for the accounts of the GNP, the prosecutors have decided on an intensive inspection just after the related information is secured in the near future.

“There are no specific orders in our investigation, just for the necessity of inspection. We are looking into the accounts of the MDP first,” said the coordinator Moon. Adding to that, “The three principles of investigation –thoroughness, equity, and swiftness – are also applied to the inspection of the accounts, as it stands on other cases as well.”

The prosecutors also set forth that the actual search of the party headquarters has not been considered yet.

In addition, Congressman Choi Don-woong, who is under suspicion of acting as a broker between the SK and the GNP, has hidden himself away from the investigation after his fourth appearance at the interview; the prosecutors are prudently considering the options of a compulsory investigation. The prosecutors have already issued a warrant of arrest to Gong Ho-sik and Bong Jong-keun, who have neglected the request for an interview twice so far. They are under suspicion of helping out the delivery of the SK secret fund of $8.4 million to the headquarters of the GNP, with the help of Lee Jae-hyun (now in custody), the former accountant of the GNP.

Congressman of Uri Party, Lee Sang-soo, who was in charge of the MDP election committee in 2002, will be interviewed around November 8. Kim Young-il, the former GNP’s chief of management will be called up by next week.

There are no statements handed in so far from the companies that are crucial to the investigation. The prosecutors confirmed that they will also call up employees related to the financial work, simultaneously with the politicians.

On the other hand, formal presidential aide, Choi Do-sul, who had been indicted under suspicion of receiving the SK secret funds worth $900,000, has been under suspicion in another case of bribery. It has been rumored that between January and February of this year, about seven to eight companies have given another $1 million to Choi. The prosecutors, relating to this rumor, are considering opening up some parts of the investigation results around November 6.

Sun Bong-sul (57), former driver of President Roh and the current chief of Changsuchun, the water bottling company, is also under suspicion of taking $200,000 worth of bribe from Choi Do-sul, and has been urged to turn up at the interview. However, he has refused the request of the prosecutors due to his poor physical condition.

Tae-Hoon Lee Jin-Kyun Kil jefflee@donga.com leon@donga.com