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Complicated relationship between money and power

Posted April. 14, 2015 07:11,   


It has been turned out that Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo called Lee Yong-hee and Kim Jin-kwon, members of Taean County Council in South Chungcheong Province who are acquaintances of late Keangnam Enterprises Chairman Sung Wan-jong, 15 times. The prime minister reportedly asked questions about what they talked about with the businessman on Wednesday, a day before his suicide. He pressed them for an answer, saying, “Tell me because I’m the prime minister.” They said that they even had to turn off their mobile phone to the prime minister’s disgrace.

“I needed to confirm what they talked about because I was close with them,” the prime minister said. “Isn’t it weird not to call someone you know well?” But this is hard to accept. This implies that there`s something weighs on his mind or he might have tried to eliminate evidence, as an opposition party lawmaker claims.

When the “Sung Wan-jong list” including the prime minister’s name was first unveiled, Prime Minister Lee said, “I was not close with him personally except when we were lawmakers for a year in the 19th National Assembly.” However, it is hard to accept as well. When being probed by prosecutors, Sung asked the prime minister to help him. Prime Minister Lee is said to have asked the “Chungcheong Forum,” created by Sung, to help the prime minister when the public opinion was not favorable to him during the confirmation hearing in February this year. Some say that the two have been close since the alliance between former President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil.

Prime Minister Lee lied about his military service in the confirmation hearing. He denied what he said to some reporters during lunch but he was humiliated later when the recordings were released. He said in an interpellation session on Monday, “I wasn’t able to participate in the 2012 presidential race because I was fighting leukemia.” However, he is said to have supported the then Saenuri Party several times as an honorary election committee chairman for South Chungcheong Province. When he finds the odds are against him, he denies the allegation or cooks up a story. The case revealed once again that he has a morality problem.

Prime Minister Lee said that he didn`t receive any political donation from Keangnam Enterprises and Sung, but it is suspicious that his name was on Sung’s list and he made inappropriate calls to Sung’s acquaintances. If Lee is truly confident, he should come forward and say that he will be investigated first. It will be in line with the willingness of President Park Geun-hye who said that prosecutors should strictly deal with the case in accordance with law and principles without sanctuary.