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What Is the Truth About Min Kyung-chan’s Investment Funds?

What Is the Truth About Min Kyung-chan’s Investment Funds?

Posted February. 11, 2004 23:30,   


What is the truth about Min Kyung-chan’s funds?

With police probes into the investment fund of Min Kyung-chan, President Roh Moo Hyun’s in-law, nearing an end, the conflict between Min’s allegations and a report by a weekly newsmagazine, which ran an exclusive interview with him, is further raising suspicion.

On February 11, two days before sending the case to the prosecution, the police effectively concluded that Min lied when he said he had raised investment funds. However, on February 10, the weekly Sisa Journal ran 10 different interviews with Min and said, “It is suspicious that Min, the police, and the president’s office have premeditated Min’s testimony.” This further aroused suspicion.

-Complex Truth Game

The February 10 issue of the newsmagazine quoted Min as saying in an interview conducted on February 6 in the detention cell of a police station that “I came clean of the funds by opening a new account under Mr. Park.”

This implied that Min did what amounts to “account laundering,” by transferring massive funds to another account.

As a matter of fact, Min, who was under urgent arrest, could not launder money without help from the police. This has raised speculation that the police helped Min to transfer the money to another account in an attempt to tinker away at the situation. The Sisa Journal said that “all interviews run in the issue were taped.”

Lee Sangwon, the director of the special investigations unit at the National Police Agency, discounted the Sisa reports as speculation and said, “There is glass from a wall to another in the visitors’ room [of the detention cells]. When a detainee talks with a visitor, they put their face as close as possible to the glass just to listen to each other. How can they say the conversation was taped?”

Lee added that “a policeman present in the room always takes record of the conversations. There is no mention about Mr. Park at all in the record.” In an affidavit, Min said, “What’s reported [in the Sisa Journal] is not true at all. If they don’t retract it I will hold them for libel.”

However, the police said it would not further investigate the case just to confirm the Sisa reports, and left lingering suspicions. Although Min is reported to have said he would confront the Sisa journalist, the police lukewarmly and said, “There won’t be a need for face-to-face questioning.” They also said they would not subpoena the journalist who claimed he taped the interview.

-Police Cause Suspicion

Because the police investigation accomplished little even two days before the wrap-up, concerns have been raised that it would be impossible for the police to round out the picture of the Min funds.

Still worse, it is suspected that the police, ordered by the presidential office, premeditated the way they would investigate the case. Although the police could tell the truth when they temporarily concluded the existence of the Min funds was unsubstantiated, there would be not many people who would believe it.

The police have appeared to be protective about Min and attempted to cover up the fact that they had banned Min from leaving the country since January 31. All in all, this has hurt the police’s credibility regarding the Min case.

The full truth will likely be brought to light when the case is transferred to the prosecution. “When the police pass the case over to us, we will thoroughly investigate it without any presumption,” said Prosecutor-General Song Kwang-soo in a National Assembly hearing on February 11.

Wan-Bae Lee roryrery@donga.com