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Uri Party Probes Unethical Fund Raising

Posted January. 19, 2006 03:12,   


If a person recruiting cadre members for a party handed a 10,000-won note to a 60-something man at a bar saying, “The next round is on me,” made him write an application form including his account number, and withdrew 2,000 won in monthly membership fees, is it a proxy payment or an unauthorized deposit withdrawal (theft)?

Or, if a recruiter was the chair of an elderly association, persuaded fellow senior citizens by saying, “If you become a party member, you can have the voting right to choose party leadership,” told them to bring their bank books, and wrote application forms for them including their account numbers…?

A Party Squeezing Money from Senior Citizens?-

The ruling Uri Party is agonizing over its self-reviewing results into the scandal surrounding 157 newly-recruited elderly party members in Bongcheon-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, and their membership fee payment, which triggered the controversy about “ghost party members.”

The examples above turned out to be true according to the review.

If the recruiter made it clear the 10,000-won note was for membership fees before receiving the application form, the deposit withdrawal can be a proxy payment. However, if the applicant’s memory was not intact due to drinking and the recruiter took advantage of the situation, it constitutes either fraud or theft.

If the second recruiter did not explain properly about the money withdrawal, it is equivalent to fraud as well.

Some of the “victims” whose money was withdrawn claim that they were not told about the membership fee. If their claim is true, the Uri Party is responsible for abetting or tolerating theft (fraud).

The Uri Party is obviously trying to rather close the case by admitting proxy payment of membership fee, a symbolic obsolete political practice, than to be accused of the crimes.

While most party officials are holding their tongues, some of them emphasize that the incidents were not unauthorized withdrawals but proxy payments, and even if there are some cases of unapproved withdrawal, it is the fault of some recruiters, not the party.

“Like the Grand National Party, which failed to break away from its image of raising illegal funds by cash trucks, the Uri Party would be ruined in whatever elections if it is censured for extorting money from senior citizens,” said a source from the party. “During the general election campaign in 2004, we were already attacked for the then leader’s remark degrading senior citizens.”

In some cases, recruiters deposited 12,000 won in advance in the bank accounts of new members and withdrew 2,000 won a month, or withdrew money first and later either paid back or promised to pay back.