중앙데일리

Party Reneges on Pledge

Vote Is Delayed (Again) on Anti-Laundering Bill

June 19,2001
The main opposition Grand National Party on Tuesday reversed its position on an anti-money laundering bill submitted a day earlier. The party decided that the bill should include, but limit, probes into political funds.

The opposition drafted a new version of the bill: opposing giving an envisioned government body, the Financial Intelligence Unit, power to trace financial accounts without warrant, and requiring the unit to notify the National Election Commission in case of investigation into the transaction records of politicians and their associates.

The opposition's change of heart puts back passage of the bill, which was positioned for passage at Tuesday's main session.

Floor leaders of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the United Liberal Democrats, were outraged by the opposition move.

The opposition explained that giving the Financial Intelligence Unit the power to trace financial accounts is unnecessary since that task is already performed by prosecutors.

Representatives of the three parties reached an agreement on Monday to deny the financial unit the power to trace political financial records, while giving the unit the power to trace every other type of account suspected of hiding illegal money.

The tentative extension of immunity to political funds from the anti-money laundering bill aroused suspicion that the politicians were covering their own backs. The bill, one of the major reform laws advocated by the Kim Dae-jung administration, was drafted to dig up cash earned by criminal organizations and money being hidden from the tax collector, as well as other illegal funds.

Partisan differences have kept the bill in limbo for several months now.

Political insiders said that how extensive the Financial Intelligence Unit's powers will be lies at the heart of future negotiations. The ruling party may look to pass the bill at Monday's main session.



by Lee Soo-ho




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