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Names of Allegedly Bribed Prosecutors Made Public

Posted August. 19, 2005 03:04,   


Triggering controversy, lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan of the minor opposition Democratic Labor Party revealed on August 18 the names of seven prosecutors who were said to be given bribes from the Samsung Group ahead of the holiday seasons, according to the bugged conversation by the National Security Planning Agency (the predecessor of the National Intelligence Service).

In the political and legal communities, debate is getting fierce if it is proper to reveal the names mentioned in the bugged conversations without confirming their actual involvement, and if more bugging records should be made public.

“These Are the Seven People in Question”-

Representative Roh revealed the names at the Legislation and Judiciary Committee meeting of the National Assembly, adding, “With bribed prosecutors still in office, the prosecution is not in position to investigate the link between the politicians, businessmen, and the press. That is why we call for an independent council.”

The seven prosecutors in question are Vice Minister of Justice Kim Sang-hee and six others whose initials are C, K, K, A, H, H. In the wiretapped conversation in 1997, vice president of the Samsung Group Lee Hak-soo and then president of the Samsung-affiliated daily Joongang Ilbo Hong Seok-hyun discussed providing money to the seven prosecutors as a customary gift for the upcoming traditional holiday.

With their names, representative Roh also exposed the related part of the script of the recording.

According to the script, Lee and Hong talked about their plan to give five million to 30 million won to the prosecutors for the holiday. The prosecutors were all promoted later to the rank of a director of a prosecutors’ office or higher, such as the chief prosecutor of felony department at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office or the minister and vice minister of Justice.

Vice Justice Minister Kim resigned in the afternoon after admitting his name was in the recorded conversations, but he denied receiving money from the Samsung Group.

Representative Roh demanded an immediate inspection and dismissal of the involved prosecutors, if still in office, by the Justice Ministry.

Controversy over the Exposure of the Names-

Revealing the full names of the prosecutors and the script of bugging record is illegal, as it violates the Communication Confidentiality Law. However, his statement will be given immunity as a lawmaker’s remark during the standing committee meeting.

Rep. Roh is firm in what he did, saying “I won’t be troubled by the legal standard for the nation and its people. Indict me if it should be done.”

However, some critics say that it was inappropriate for a lawmaker to reveal the script of a bugging record with the benefit of immunity. Concerns are raised that similar revelations for other 274 tapes could inflict unjust suffering to the innocent.

What was revealed in the script is a mere plan, and it is still to be proved if the plan was carried out.

The Democratic Labor Party and the main opposition Grand National Party said it is inevitable that an independent council should be established for investigations into the illegal bugging scandal now, as the prosecution’s involvement in the case has been revealed. However, the ruling Uri Party adhered to its position opposing the idea, saying, “The prosecution will step up the investigation to come clean about their own guilt.”

Jung-Eun Lee lightee@donga.com