중앙데일리

Tax Probe Hearing Debated

Opposition Party Pushes for a Speedy Wrap-Up

Aug 12,2001
Since the ruling Millennium Democratic Party accepted the opposition Grand National Party's request to hold a parliamentary hearing on the tax probe into newspaper companies, the two political parties have been jostling with the issue of who should be called to testify at the witness stand.

The Grand National Party is demanding the hearing be held as soon as possible. "We need to wrap up the hearing by Sept. 10, when the parliamentary inspection into government administration begins," Lee Jae-oh, the opposition floor leader said. "The hearing should begin near the end of the month at the latest."

Mr. Lee added that his party required 10 key witnesses. They include: Han Kwang-ok, Blue House chief of staff; Park Jie-won, Blue House secretary for policy planning; the culture and tourism minister; the current and former directors-general of the National Intelligence Service; the prosecutor-general; the Fair Trade Commission chairman, and the National Tax Service commissioner.

But a Millennium Democrat retorted that calling officials other than those who were directly involved in the tax investigation was unnecessary. The ruling party said if the opposition insisted on calling Blue House officials, it would call newspaper owners or executives.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said Sunday that they would decide whether to request detention warrants for newspaper owners and executives on Monday.

Korean law stipulates a prison sentence of five years or more for evading more than 500 million won ($385,000) in taxes, but some prosecutors hinted that the president could use his Liberation Day speech on Wednesday to alter the direction of the investigation.



by Choi Sang-yeon




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