중앙데일리

Focus on how funds were used

Aug 14,2003
With the prosecution’s announcement that ruling Millennium Democratic Party lawmaker Kwon Roh-kap allegedly received 20 billion won ($17 million) from the Hyundai Group ahead of the April 2000 legislative elections, attention is now focusing on how Mr. Kwon used the money.
Political observers said the prosecution now will trace the flow of the 20 billion won along with the separate 15 billion won that Park Jie-won, former President Kim Dae-jung’s chief of staff, allegedly received from Hyundai before the June 2000 inter-Korean summit, to find out how the sum was spent. They have raised suspicions that the 20 billion won must have been used as part of the ruling party’s political funds set aside for the 2000 legislative election campaigns.
Prosecution sources said it has circumstantial evidence that Mr. Kwon gave part of the 20 billion won to politicians who were seeking office during the last legislative elections. The sources said Mr. Kwon used the home of Kim Yeong-wan, a fugitive arms dealer suspected of laundering the 20 billion won and the 15 billion won, as his “bank.” They said it appears that Mr. Kwon kept the money in Mr. Kim’s home and took it out frequently to use it for election-related affairs.
A prosecutor yesterday said a statement by Mr. Kim, who is currently a fugitive in the United States, presented to the prosecution on Sunday, will be a key that will help prosecutors trace the flow of the 20 billion won and the 15 billion won. The prosecutor said, “The presenting of the statement was like opening Pandora’s box.”
Another prosecutor yesterday said even though the prosecution will try to find out how the money was used, it will not stage a large-scale investigation of the politicians suspected of receiving it. He said even if it turns out that the money was used for elections, which would violate the political fund law, the statute of limitations had already expired. But analysts said the prosecution may charge some politicians with bribery if it can show they received the money knowing it was a payoff by Hyundai in return for business favors.


by Jo Kang-su


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