중앙데일리

Candidates Now Facing Subpoenas Over Funds

Jan 10,2001
The Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office charged Tuesday that some parliamentary candidates for the 1996 general election who received funds that were funneled from the state intelligence agency used the money for personal purposes.

The prosecution is mulling over whether to subpoena the candidates, with those who received more than 400 million won ($320,000) being the first to be summoned.

A prosecution official said that embezzlement charges can be added to those who spent the funds for purposes other than campaigning and that the prosecution intends to summon the politicians who either received an excessive amount of money or misappropriated the funds.

The list, first published in the JoongAng Ilbo, includes Rep. Kang Sam-jae, secretary-general of the then-ruling New Korea Party at the time of the general election and now a vice president of the opposition Grand National Party, as well as Rep. Ha Soon-bong, another vice president of the opposition party.

In a fresh allegation, the prosecution said that of the 94 billion won that was funneled from the intelligence arm of the government, some 40 billion won was withdrawn a day before the New Korea Party's nomination ceremony in 1996.

The prosecution also said that the total amount of funneled funds now stands at 119.2 billion won, up 3.5 billion won from the previous figure of 115.7 billion won.

Of the 94 billion won that was funneled, the New Korea Party distributed 45.5 billion won to its candidates and spent 7.2 billion won on party expenses, the prosecution said. It is investigating where the rest of the money - 41.3 billion won - went.

In addition, of the 25.2 billion won that was distributed to candidates for local elections in 1995, only 800 million won was spent on campaigning, the prosecution alleged.

In another move, the prosecution said that it is considering whether it can confiscate the illegally funneled funds.

A special law that was passed in 1995 stipulates that if public servants are found to have illegally pocketed government money, the court can order the funds confiscated.

Therefore, the prosecution could in theory confiscate the funds if it could prove that politicians used the funds for personal purposes.

However, legal experts say confiscation may prove difficult if the politicians continue to argue that they thought the funds were from the party and did not know of any illegal funneling from the intelligence agency.

In 1998, the prosecution attempted but failed to confiscate the Grand National Party's corporate donations that were channeled through the National Tax Service.



by Shin Dong-jae




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