[EDITORIALS]A third son, a third problem

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[EDITORIALS]A third son, a third problem

President Kim Dae-jung's third son, Hong-gul, has moved into the media's spotlight over money. The latest news concerning the president's third son comes on the heels of a controversy about the financial transactions of Hong-up, vice chairman of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation for the Asia-Pacific Region, and Mr. Kim's second son. The president's first son, Kim Hong-il, earlier this year left the country to receive medical treatment in the United States, after his name was mentioned in the financial corruption case of Lee Yong-ho.

Hong-gul has been under attack before by the opposition camp over his "luxurious lifestyle" and real estate transactions that did not match his status as a student studying abroad. Unlike earlier cases, the allegation made this time is more detailed and it claims that Hong-gul received 900 million won ($680,000).

The revelation comes amidst an ongoing legal fight between Choi Gyu-seon and his driver, thus it would be premature for us to determine the accuracy of the allegation at this point. But the status of the whistle-blower and the allegation he poured forth are too serious to let pass. Mr. Choi served as a special aide on international affairs to President Kim Dae-jung, when Mr. Kim was the opposition leader. After Mr. Kim became president-elect, Mr. Choi was well-known in the political sector for his conspicuous role as an aide to the president-elect. Whether Mr. Choi has a buddy-buddy relationship with Kim Hong-gul is not yet known, but we can presume that the relationship between the two went beyond mere acquaintance. The same Mr. Choi has revealed in a self-requested interview that he gave money to Hong-gul on various occasions. He also said that an investigation into his company by the Sajik-dong team, the former special investigative police unit under the Blue House, had been "wrapped up smoothly," after Hong-gul talked to his father. If these disclosures prove to be true, the questions about Hong-gul's money become a larger problem: that of abusing government power.

Of course, it is difficult to take Mr. Choi's words at face value, as he and his driver are engaged in a lawsuit. Hong-gul should speak up for himself, as the matter requires clarification from the individual involved, not from a third party. The overall picture of the president's three sons is not good.

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