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DA’s Office Discloses Details of Pending Case, Arousing Reactions From Two Leading Presidential Candidates

DA’s Office Discloses Details of Pending Case, Arousing Reactions From Two Leading Presidential Candidates

Posted August. 15, 2007 07:17,   


Two leading presidential contenders, former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak and former Grand National Party leader Park Geun-hye, exchanged heated words yesterday over the DA’s report on a land deal allegedly involving former Mayor Lee.

Lee’s followers criticized the DA’s office, saying, “The case is still pending. The DA’s office, all of sudden, announced details of its ongoing investigation. It’s unprecedented. It must have been politically biased and motivated.”

Lee’s head campaigner Rep. Lee Jae-oh staged a sit-in in front of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, protesting the unprecedented move. He told the press, “Right after former Justice Minister Kim [Seong-ho] resigned, Park started urging the DA’s office to disclose the investigative progress. The DA’s office succumbed to the demand. It’s a trick. They must’ve talked with each other in advance.”

Lee continued, “Incumbent Justice Minister Jeong Sang-myeong has been a close friend of President Roh’s. How could we believe what the DA’s office asserts? Most polls showed that [former Mayor] Lee was leading the race with a huge margin in approval rating. In the middle of this lead, the DA’s office released the details. What the DA’s office is trying to achieve here is not ‘legal justice,’ but ‘political justice.’ We will not sit on our hands. We will do whatever we can do to sink this ill-spirited move.”

Another senior campaigner of Lee, Park Hee-tae, told the press, fuming, “Only a couple of days ago, the DA’s office promised it would not release details of the investigation, citing the negative effects of it on the presidential race. Why did they change their own promise? Someone must’ve pulled strings!”

On the other hand, Park’s camp alleged, “If Lee had purchased the land using someone else’s name, he must have evaded taxes. He should withdraw from the race.”

Park’s chief campaigner Hong Sa-deok said at a press conference held right after an inter-camp meeting yesterday, “It’s time for Lee to back away. That is the only way to save our party and win the upcoming presidential election. Lee will not come clean from the other allegations.”

Park’s legal advisers issued a press release that said, “If Lee did what the DA’s report alleges, he could be sentenced to up to five years.”

The legal team also alleged, “Lee’s brother-in-law, Kim Jae-jeong, gave away to Lee’s brother Lee Sang-eun about 6 million dollars out of the proceeds from the sale of the land in Seoul. It was allegedly a gift. But the fact translates that [former Mayor] Lee evaded more than three million dollars in fees. It was [former Mayor] Lee who really owned it. That’s why [former Mayor] Lee should be held legally accountable.”

In addition, Park’s camp alleged, “Two more individuals managed the fund used for the land deal. They should be penalized, too.”

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