[EDITORIALS]A son's money

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[EDITORIALS]A son's money

President Kim Dae-jung's third son, Hong-gul, was indicted on charges of having received bribes totaling 3.7 billion won ($3 million), 2.4 billion won in cash and 1.3 billion won in stock. This is 1.6 billion won more than the 2.1 billion won he was alleged to have received when he was first detained last month. At the time of his detention, Mr. Kim faced only charges of unlawful brokerage under the act on specific economic crimes. Now he also faces charges of tax evasion for not paying 220 million won in donation gift taxes.

What is most surprising about Mr. Kim's charges is the sheer amount of the money. That the president's son could have interfered in so many government decisions brings great amazement and anger. Mr. Kim's unlawful accumulation of wealth from April 2000 to this January averages about 100 million won a month in cash alone. How could a mere student studying in the United States have received so much money so regularly?

There are still many questions left unanswered in this investigation. Investigators have yet to uncover the source of 700 million won Mr. Kim received in cash. While it is suspected that this money comes from a single source, somehow the investigation is having trouble finding the source of such flagrantly large amounts of money. The decision to consider only 200 million out of 500 million won that Mr. Kim received from a construction firm as a bribe received in exchange of favor also needs explanation. What is the reason for such a decision?

In their investigation, prosecutors have concentrated their efforts too much on dealing with the personal wrongdoings of Mr. Kim and his friends Choi Gyu-seon and Kim Hee-wan. More inquiries should also be made into who exercised their powers to help Mr. Kim, who did the bribing, and who did the covering up of these bribes. Are the prosecutors determined enough to get past the outer layers and get to the core of this affair? From their actions so far, it looks doubtful.

The indictment of Mr. Kim is not the end but only the beginning. The biggest mystery is Mr. Kim's involvement in the commissioning of a national sports lottery to Tiger Pools Korea and Posco's buying of Tiger Pools Korea's shares at an unusually high price. Prosecutors have yet to get to the bottom of that mess.
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