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Lee Bu-young, Under a State of Crisis

Posted February. 02, 2005 22:42,   


Lee Bu-young, the former chairman of the Uri party, is faced with the worst crisis of his political career. He is being questioned over allegations that he received illegal funds from the Hanwha Group in the process of the group’s acquisition of Korea Life Insurance. As the prosecution has strong resolve to investigate the bidding scandal and as the related official of Hanhwa admitted to the allegations, some expect that the case will deal a blow to Mr. Lee.

Moreover, due to the investigation, Mr. Lee will not be able to run in the by-elections in the coming April. It appears that his ambitions to enter the cabinet are being prevented from happening.

The scandal could also affect his ongoing lawsuit regarding election law violations. He was sentenced to a fine of 1.5 million won for distributing Assembly reports condemning the opponents of the last year’s general election and appealed the court’s decision. However, if higher courts uphold the ruling, he will not be eligible to run for election for five years, which could seriously endanger his political life.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com