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President Roh Involved in His Aides’ Scandal

Posted December. 29, 2003 22:55,   


The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office’s Central Investigation Division announced Monday that President Roh Moo-hyun received reports from his close aide Ahn Hee-jung and old supporter and Chairman of Chang-shin Textile Company, Kang Kum-won, that Yong-in City in Gyeonggi Province, which was possessed by Lee Ki-myung, a former chairman of Roh’s supporter group, was being planned for transfer as a method of paying back the debt of Jangsoochun Company.

The prosecution also proved that President Roh directed his former presidential secretary Choi Do-sul in August of last year to hand over 250 million won to preserve the loss originated from the auction of Jin-young’s commercial building located in Kimhae City in Kyungnam Province which his old friend and President of Jangsoochun had made. The 250 million won in question was the rest of a local election campaign fund that the Election committee of the Millennium Democratic Party’s Busan branch had kept.

In addition, the prosecution said that following a breakfast meeting on November 9 at a hotel in Seoul with President Roh, Chairman Moon Byung-wook of Sun & Moon Group, former presidential aide Lee Kwang-jae, and Roh’s high-school fellow who works in banking known as Mr. Kim, Moon reportedly handed 100 million won to Lee.

The prosecution revealed that Moon met then-candidate Roh of the MDP on December 7 last year and delivered 30 million won in cash in a shopping bag to then assistant manager of Roh, Yeo Taek-soo.

Regarding Sun & Moon Group’s lobby on reducing taxes, the prosecution, although not fully concluding that it designated President Roh, announced that they discovered the letter “Roh” in the National Tax Service’s report concerning Sun & Moon Group.

The Prosecution announced the final report of the scandal of President’s close aides on December 29, including the details above.

However, being asked whether it is necessary to interrogate President Roh, an investigator of the prosecution replied, “The President has to continue his own presidency and since the investigation into the suspected acts provides truth enough, we have decided that it would be better not to question him at this moment.”

Meanwhile, the prosecution indicted Kang, who lent 1.9 billion won in political funds without compensation by using land transactions, for the charge of violating a political funding law.

The investigators also indicted Choi who passed money to Sun for embezzlement. According to the prosecutors, Choi misappropriated not only 250 million won of the Election Committee’s money but also 295 million won of funds for the presidential election, and also had received 337 million won of illicit political funds from 42 persons, either from business or as individual, before the presidential election. The prosecution also reported that Choi received 296 million won of funds from Chairman Kang Byung-joong of Nexen Co. and tens of Busan-based businessmen even after the end of presidential election.

As for Ahn, he was indicted and restricted for having received illicit presidential election funds amounting 1.84 trillion won from 43 companies including Chang-shin Textile and Sun & Moon Group in November and December last year. The prosecution found out that Ahn paid total 600 million won on account of the nephew of Kang in four times from March to August this year, and is investigating whether the money is related to illicit funds received before and after the presidential election. The prosecutors confirmed that Kang had received one billion won from Ahn on November 19 and December 6 last year, and is checking up on the possibility that the purpose of this money was maintaining loss due to land transactions. However, Ahn insisted that it was him who decided to offer the one billion won to Kang, and he had never reported it to President Roh, prosecutors said.

As a result, to summarize the size of the illegal funds of President Roh’s close aides, Ahn received 2.44 trillion, Choi 1.6855 billion, Lee 5 million, and Shin and Yeo together 50 million won with the final sum reached approximately 418 million won. On top of that, when the 1.9 billion won that Kang had lent the land in Yong-in without charge is included, the total sum amounts to approximately 680 million won.

Wi-Yong Jung Sang-Rok Lee viyonz@donga.com myzodan@donga.com