Go to contents

Lee: "I Will Take the Burden and Go to Prison"

Posted December. 15, 2003 22:38,   


Lee Hoi-chang, a former leader of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), apologized yesterday for illicit fundraising during the presidential campaign, saying that he would take full responsibility and go to prison.

“The GNP’s illegal fundraising for the campaign was implemented under my direction when I was running as a presidential candidate, and business conglomerates contributed money anticipating benefits from my victory. It is therefore all my fault and I held ultimate responsibility while running for the presidency,” confessed Lee.

After giving a press conference at the GNP headquarters in Yoido in order to apologize to the public, Lee voluntarily headed straight to the prosecution office in Seocho-dong, Seoul.

In a press conference, Lee revealed that the GNP had illegally accepted 50 billion won from the conglomerates during the presidential election last year and admitted that those acts were not lawful. He said any additional cases of illegal fundraising that might be found in the future would all fall as his responsibility.

In his remarks, Lee indirectly urged President Roh to make a revelation on his campaign funds, stressing, “In such climate when the ultimate leader keeps hiding himself behind his proxy, we can never get rid of our shameful past of campaign fundraising.”

Lee Hoi-chang’s confession regarding illicit campaign funds was his second public appearance since last October 30. On the evening of December 14, Lee reportedly called Yoo Seung-min, the former general director of Yoido Research Center, and two former special aides, Lee Byung-ki and Lee Jong-ku, to his residence in Okin-dong in Jongno, Seoul, to polish the draft for the press conference.

According to Lee’s close aide, Lee told prosecutors that he had replied, “Go receive the money,” when his campaign managers reported the business conglomerates’ funding plans.

Meanwhile, Rep. Choi Don-woong of the GNP, who received a summons from the prosecution regarding the presidential campaign funds, plans to present himself to the prosecutor’s office on December 16.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com