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Special Prosecution Finds a Number of Suspicions to be Groundless

Special Prosecution Finds a Number of Suspicions to be Groundless

Posted March. 31, 2004 22:46,   


On March 31, Kim Jin-heung, the chief of the special prosecution team for investigating the presidential associates’ corruption case, has indicted Choi Do-sul, a former presidential aide under the suspicion of receiving a 491 million won bribe. In addition, the prosecution has disclosed that all other suspicions in which the other presidential associates are involved have been proven to be groundless.

According to the special prosecution team, former presidential aide Choi allegedly received a total of 491 million won, including 320 million won from local companies in Busan district, under the pretext of mediation and solicitation, and an additional 60 million won from his high school alumni in Busan district at the time of the presidential election campaign period.

“About 90 million won, which was withdrawn from the official Chong Wa Dae accounts and issued by check at the time when Choi worked for Chong Wa Dae, has not been returned to the bank,” disclosed the special prosecution team, adding, “Additional suspicions of corruption are still left.”

The prosecution team has confirmed that Choi organized a 120 million won illegal fund for the presidential campaign during the Millennium Democratic Party’s presidential candidate vote procedure in February to March 2002, and that Yang Gil-seung, the former chief of the first presidential secretary department, received 10 million won under the name of the candidate election fund. The team handed the relevant records over to the supreme prosecution office.

Lee Young-ro, President Roh’s senior alumnus from high school, was found guilty of receiving a 741 million won bribe, but because he was stricken with a chronic disease and unable to stand trial, the prosecution team has suspended the indictment and given the relevant data to the supreme prosecution office.

Together with this, the special prosecution team has grasped the suspicion that Sun and Moon Group illegally transacted eight billion won worth of company capital and evaded taxes. The team has informed the National Tax Services (NTS) of its findings. In relation to the illegal sale of golf range memberships to Sun and Moon, the prosecution team requested Kyunggi Province take disciplinary measures against involved government employees who approved their sale.

On the other hand, the prosecution team has ruled the following suspicions as groundless: former presidential aide Choi’s illegal receipt of 30 billion won, former department chief Lee’s various kinds of intervention on behalf of Sun and Moon and the offer of a 9.5 billion won slush fund from Sun and Moon to Lee, former department chief Yang’s transference of a bribe for withdrawing the investigation to Lee Won-ho case, and Lee Won-ho’s illegal offer of a five billion won slush fund.

The prosecution team has pointed out that unclear investigation targets, appointments of single prosecutors for each different investigation case, no legal background for the special prosecutor to participate in drawing up of protocols, inefficient restrictions on the special prosecution team (including the restriction that relevant prosecutors need to have at least one year remaining before his or her retirement from government), and restricted investigation rights for the sake of maintaining the state of arraignments during the trial period are the major problems of special prosecution law.

Sang-Rok Lee TK Sohn myzodan@donga.com sohn@donga.com