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GNP says it will push for new counsel

June 26,2003
With the independent counsel investigation into the cash-for-summit allegations wrapped up yesterday, the Grand National Party continued to demand that the government authorize another independent counsel.
President Roh Moo-hyun Monday rejected the counsel’s request to extend its investigation period.
The counsel was unable to investigate former President Kim Dae-jung due to the time limit set on its query. The opposition party strongly argued that it is necessary to investigate Mr. Kim in order to uncover everything regarding the cash-for-summit allegations. “Mr. Roh destroyed legal principles in order to protect Mr. Kim,” Park Jong-hee, the party’s spokes-man, said yesterday.
Besides not being able to investigate Mr. Kim, the counsel was unable to dig into many new suspicions that emerged during its investigation. The counsel recently obtained circumstantial evidence that Park Jie-won, chief of staff in the Kim Blue House, received 15 billion won ($1.3 million) in bribes from Hyundai. It also found out that Kim Yeong-wan, who allegedly laundered the money for Mr. Park, was robbed of about 10 billion won last year. But the counsel finished its investigation without resolving these allegations.
The counsel confirmed that $450 million won in cash was sent to North Korea before the summit. But it has consistently suggested that additional money was sent North, and that Hyundai and the Kim administration were involved in all of the transfers. Some Hyundai officials have told the press that a total of $900 million made its way to the North.
The counsel indicted Hyundai Merchant Marine executives for account manipulation. But another uninvestigated allegation was recently raised: that Hyundai Engineering and Construction falsely made it appear that the money it sent to the North was used in its overseas construction projects.
The party, holding the National Assembly majority, yesterday put the bill for a new counsel before the Assembly.


by Jeon Jin-bae


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