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“We Will Investigate Even If Charges Are Withdrawn”

Posted July. 10, 2007 03:05,   


Grand National Party (GNP) leaders are pressuring presidential candidate former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak’s side to withdraw their lawsuit, but the issue has created greater controversy as the prosecution has revealed that they will continue the investigation even if charges are withdrawn.

On July 9, at the supreme council meeting held at party headquarters in Yeoeui-do, Seoul, GNP Chairman Kang Jae-sup urged ex-Mayor Lee’s camp to, “Immediately withdraw all lawsuits that the camp has filed to investigation teams or outside institutions.” GNP lawmaker Ahn Sang-soo said, “If the prosecution continues investigation (even after charges have been dropped), we will absolutely refuse all cooperation and impeach the prosecution.”

Spokesperson Na Kyung-won said, “The prosecution must immediately suspend its investigation if charges are withdrawn.” She added, “A libel offense cannot be pursued against the will of the victim; therefore, if the plaintiff does not want a penalty to be set, it is not possible to make an indictment.”

However, high-ranking prosecution officials said, “Criminal libel offenses cannot be punished against the will of the victim; therefore, if charges are withdrawn, the regular investigation will be suspended, but this case may need to be considered as candidate libel under the public office election law or false propaganda.”

Meanwhile, the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office special investigation team (Head: Choi Jae-kyung) which is investigating former Mayor Lee Myung-bak camp’s libel suit and the case on alleged state institute’s leaking of classified information, called in DAS president Kim Sung-woo and chairman Kim Jae-jung’s attorney Kim Yong-chul for questioning.

mhpark@donga.com needjung@donga.com