[EDITORIALS]Corruption with no bounds

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[EDITORIALS]Corruption with no bounds

The financial scandal surrounding Yoon Tae-shik raises more and more suspicions day after day. The scandal began with investigations into allegations of fabrication of evidence and charges of a cover-up of a murder case by the National Intelligence Service and the police agency. We now know that senior officials at the Blue House, the center of power, are behind those involved in the scandal.

After prosecutors uncovered the involvement of the National Intelligence Service, Information and Communication Ministry officials and media figures, Park Joon-yung, a former presidential spokesman who had resigned recently as a government spokesman, and Kim Jung-kil, a former senior presidential secretary for political affairs, were criticized for allegedly taking part in the scandal. Their involvement shows that lobbying activities had been directed indiscriminately at politicians and government officials. Kim Sung-nam, a lawyer, named to head the anti-corruption commission, had to decline the appointment and Namgoong Seuk, the former information and communication minister, and Lee Jong-chan, the former intelligence service chief, were said to be involved in the scandal.

The opposition Grand National Party said the names of the power elite behind the scandal should be revealed. How many more names will be added to the list will not be known until the investigation is over.

Although politicians and government officials are always mentioned as the figures behind every scandal, the large number of high-ranking figures named en masse in the Yoon case is unprecedented. Particularly, Park Joon-yung and Kim Jung-kil as well as Shin Kwang-ok, arrested on charges of accepting bribes in a financial scandal surrounding Chin Seung-hyun, were all key aides to President Kim Dae-jung. Blue House secretaries have been named as wire-pullers and protectors of corruption.

Of course, the charges against them have not yet been proven - the suspects insist they never accepted bribes. However, the investigation shows that the Blue House operates poorly and contains many weaknesses. Also clear is that the lack of discipline and morality among the presidential secretaries has gone beyond the danger level. Mr. Park reportedly met Mr. Yoon a number of times and assisted with promotion events for Pass 21, a technology start-up. Mr. Park allegedly asked Mr. Yoon to hire an acquaintance of Mr. Park, indicating that their cozy relations had gone too far. Didn't Mr. Park realize that visiting the Blue House, having photos taken with the president and meeting a presidential secretary frequently were priceless advertisement for an entrepreneur?

The Yoon scandal should be investigated by the Blue House or the National Intelligence Service to reveal the truth of the affairs and punish those responsible before the prosecutors entered the investigation.

The National Intelligence Service is the chief source of doubt in the Yoon scandal. The intelligence agency, which systematically monitored Mr. Yoon, should have known that he had become a businessman and had nothing to fear when dealing with the Blue House and other government bodies. The argument that the intelligence service fostered Mr. Yoon's rapid business success is becoming increasingly convincing. Thoroughly investigating the connection between the National Intelligence Service and Mr. Yoon is of utmost importance. The National Intelligence Service's apology to the people and its promise to root out ill practices could be seen as a ruse to cover up their wrongdoings.

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