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[Editorial] Who is Responsible for BBK Scandal?

Posted February. 22, 2008 03:37,   


Special prosecutor Chung Ho-young dispelled the suspicion that President-elect Lee Myung-bak, who will be sworn in as president next Monday, was involved in a financial scam. Upon completing his 40-day investigation, Chung announced Thursday that all of the alleged charges against Lee, including the stock price manipulation and embezzlement of funds at the investment firm BBK, the false-name ownership of a piece of land in Dogok-dong, Seoul, and fraud distribution of land regarding a Seoul city’s development project named, “Sangam Digital Media City (DMC).” The independent counsel also concluded that Kim Kyung-joon’s claim that he was threatened and coaxed by the prosecution is also either a misunderstanding or a false claim.

Although some criticized special prosecutor Chung for questioning Lee while having lunch with him at a fancy restaurant called “Samcheonggak,” it is important to note that the investigation has come to a conclusion after a comprehensive review of all the known evidence and statements from relevant people. The United New Democratic Party and candidates of the presidential election, all of who raised questions on the credibility of the prosecution’s investigation into President-elect Lee, had mobilized all possible means to pass the independent counsel bill. Now the answer is clear. Their accusations were groundless.

The credibility of the special counsel into the BBK scandal was once damaged due to a video clip which shows Lee giving a lecture at Kwangwoon University and after former ambassador to Singapore Lee Jang-chun claims to have received a BBK business card from the president-elect. However, it is only natural that we pull out all disputes over the issue now as the results of the independent counsel’s investigation have come out. If someone denies the investigation results, it will be no different from denying the law and order of our society.

When Kim was repatriated from the U.S. ahead of the presidential election, he talked big as if he had brought an explosive that might change the fate of the presidential election. Even after Lee Myung-bak was elected president, the opposition party continued to push the BBK independent counsel bill in an attempt to secure an upper hand in the generation elections. The independent counsel, which was seen as unconstitutional by many, however, turned out to be unnecessary, After 40 days of additional investigation, the only thing that has changed from the prosecution’s earlier investigation report is that the owner of the Dogok-dong land is the president-elect’s brother Lee Sang-eun.

Chung Dong-young, then presidential candidate of the UNDP, and Lee Hoi-chang, an individual presidential candidate and incumbent chair of the Liberal Forward Party, must make a sincere apology for taking the lead in spreading the baseless BBK scandal. Lee Hoi-chang was the biggest victim of Kim Dae-up’s false allegation about his son’s military dodging. Although he also was a victim of the groundless claim, he joined forces with others to shake Lee Myung-bak with an unwarranted allegation. How can we make clean and justifiable political election cultures, when leading politicians continue to mudslide their rivals with groundless accusations?