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[Editorial] Money Laundering Using Cheong Wa Dae Account

[Editorial] Money Laundering Using Cheong Wa Dae Account

Posted February. 03, 2004 23:08,   


It is shocking to hear the prosecution’s statement that Choi Do-sul, a former aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, was involved in money laundering. As a way of money laundering, Choi deposited bribes from corporations in the Cheong Wa Dae bank account when he was working at Cheong Wa Dae and withdrew the illegal funds. Now that Koreans were appalled by the reality that the presidential office’s bank account was used for money laundering, how can the government claim reform and integrity?

Choi, a one-year younger high school alumnus of President Roh, worked at Cheong Wa Dae after working with the president for more than twenty years. When he was summoned before prosecutors last October on charges of raising illicit election funds, President Roh said that he was plunged into despair and would propose a confidence vote in his leadership.

President Roh did not clarify how much he knew about Choi’s corrupt behavior, but now Koreans know that even the Cheong Wa Dae account, which is designed for the national budget, was used for money laundering.

Is Cheong Wa Dae a criminal site of presidential confidants? It is Koreans who are plunged into despair. The president should clarify his position in the ongoing situation. He must not try to distract the people’s attention by making remarks such as the one that he would propose a confidence vote if his party raised more than one tenth of the Grand National Party’s presidential election fund. Which party raised more illegal funds does not make any difference when it is clear that the government does not have integrity, of which the president himself and his confidants boasted.

Choi is not the only one. Ahn Hee-jung, whom the president called his “partner,” received hundreds of millions of won even when he underwent trials last August on charges of receiving illicit fund from the now bankrupt Nara Merchant Bank. No politician in the history was bold enough to receive bribes while under trials.

If the president remains silent because the prosecution investigations are still ongoing, it will only raise the people’s suspicion and frustration.