[EDITORIALS]Eat but be waryPresident Kim Dae-jung invited chairmen of conglomerates to lunch at the Blue House on Wednesday to discuss ways to maximize the positive economic effects of the World Cup. The Blue House chose invitees according to corporate rankings. The Blue House stated that Posco's chairman, Yoo Sang-boo, was on the list because of the firm's high ranking.
We have no reason not to welcome the president's effort on the economy since the whole nation's primary concern is the economy's recovery. He must have wished to show that he is shunning politics and focusing on the economy. But inviting heads of conglomerates to a luncheon is behavior from the past.
In particular, the presence of Mr. Yoo at the luncheon is unacceptable. He was summoned and detained overnight for the second time on June 4 by the prosecution in connection with financial allegations involving the president's third son, Kim Hong-gul. The prosecution stated that Mr. Yoo is close to a criminal suspect and his misdeeds require the prosecution to indict him. He contacted not only Hong-gul but also Choi Gyu-seon and Kim Hee-wan, suspects in the case, under suspicious circumstances. He is suspected of having been involved in Posco's purchase of Tiger Pools's shares at more than market price and in giving up Posco's participation in a bidding for a sports lottery contract. Furthermore, he is at the core of the controversy of whether or not Lee Hee-ho, the first lady, made a call to him on behalf of Hong-gul.
The Blue House invitation to someone under investigation by the prosecution is inappropriate. Mr. Yoo's case is even more disturbing since he is linked to allegations of criminal activity involving the president's son. The president's invitation can be seen by the prosecution as official encouragement for Mr. Yoo. We should be concerned about the possibility the prosecution will be intimidated or distort its investigation.
The Blue House stated that the event was planned months ago and Posco should have been represented according to its weight in the economy. The Blue House should have invited someone else from Posco. Or Mr. Yoo could have voluntarily rejected the invitation.