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BBK Scandal Causes Political Wrestling

Posted November. 20, 2007 03:03,   


November 19 was just another day of political fuss over BBK and Kim Gyeong-jun. The United New Democratic Party (UNDP) sees the investigation into BBK’s stock price manipulation as the last critical variable in the election and has been stepping up its charges against Grand National Party (GNP) candidate Lee Myung-bak. The GNP, on its part, seems to have chosen a frontal breakthrough strategy without flinching.

UNDP floor leader Kim Hyo-seok stated during the election polling committee meeting held in the party office in Dangsan-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, on November 19, “More than half of the nation believe that the BBK incident should be brought to light.” He continued, “Does Mr. Lee see more than 50 percent of the people as his enemy?” The floor leader added, “As the time has come that the truth is finally revealed with respect to the BBK scandal, the GNP is in a panic and making an absurd remark of ‘ the war against the country.’” Kim added, “They should not forsake the country to hide personal irregularities.”

Min Byeong-du, the UNDP election strategist, criticized the press, saying, “Mr. Lee’s dishonest conducts have been revealed, yet the press have failed to deliver the truth to the public in a more impartial manner. In particular, MBC, one of the major broadcasting companies in Korea, reported that Mr. Lee’s children were enlisted on the payroll list of a company run by him as its last item, and portrayed the BBK scandal as one involving nothing more than political bickering.”

Some UNDP members affiliated with the National Assembly’s Culture and Tourism Committee visited MBC in protest. Choi Jae-cheon, UNDP spokesman, said, “We are also seeking other possible ways to convey our opinion to SBS.”

On November 19, UNDP lawmaker Kang Gi-jeong, who first raised the issue of the false employment of Mr. Lee’s children, started a sit-down strike in a tent in front of the National Tax Service in Jongno-gu, Seoul, demanding an investigation into the issue and the suspicion surrounding Mr. Lee’s tax evasion.

The GNP fought back against the UNDP’s charges, claiming, “The GNP has the original copy of the contract.” GNP Chairman Kang Jae-seop, during the party’s supreme council meeting held in the party office in Yeouido, Seoul, on November 19, emphasized, “The pan-ruling party circle seems to believe it is exploding a political bomb against the GNP, but we think it’s just a dud.” “We expect the Prosecutors’ Office to conduct a fair investigation. It should not leak any unverified items or distort facts for a political purpose,” he pointedly added.

A GNP official said, “During the primary, the party looked into the BBK scandal and verified that there would be no problems. After the primary, the party also carefully examined the issue and reached the same conclusion.”

It was reported that GNP candidate Lee told his party members on November 19 “to cooperate with the investigation duly conducted by the Prosecutors’ Office.”

Goh Seung-deok, a lawyer and a member of the GNP Clean Politics Committee, said, “Kim Gyeong-jun said that he has a copy of the contract. However, we have the original copy. We are looking for the right time to disclose the contract because if we make it public too early, Mr. Kim could further fabricate other evidence against him.”

Former GNP Chairman Lee Hoi-chang said during his visit to Masan, South Gyeongsang Province, on November 19, “There has been too much fuss over the scandal. I urge the Prosecutors’ Office to start an investigation as early as possible.” He added, “If the scandal involves Lee Myung-bak’s irregularities, then they should be publicly disclosed. If there is no such thing, then we should not let the BBK scandal drag him further.”

Lee Hye-yeon, spokesperson for Lee Hoi-chang, stated, “Lee Myung-bak and the GNP must make a fresh start declaring his conscience before the nation and history.” She also urged, “Until the BBK scandal is fully investigated, it is necessary to show restraint in making emotionally charged criticisms against Lee such as accusing him of being a con man.”