[EDITORIALS]Gross criminal behavior

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[EDITORIALS]Gross criminal behavior

According to reports, some 1.6 billion won ($1.25 million) out of the 1.8 billion won that one of President Kim's sons, Kim Hong-up, handed over to his high school classmate was eventually laundered. At the order of the son, the head of administration of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation for the Asia-Pacific Region and a secretary divided the sum into 10 million to 30 million won units to launder into cash or checks.

The prosecution's announcement has spawned anger and apathy. First of all, we are curious as to how Mr. Kim could possess billions of won. When the graft case involving Lee Soo-dong, former director of the Peace Foundation, broke, Mr. Kim said he borrowed 100 million won from Kim Sung-hwan and paid it to Mr. Lee as a retirement allowance. That was a lie. We are shocked to learn that a president's son laundered money with the help of an organized crime ring. Money laundering is a criminal activity involving drugs, smuggling and often violence. Since Mr. Kim understood the nature of laundering, his involvement is morally and ethically unacceptable.

At the center of the suspicion lies questions on the source of the money and how it was accumulated. The act of laundering proves itself that the money is not clean. Although the accused in this case claimed that the money was left over from campaign donations or contributions to congratulate President Kim on his election in 1997, this argument is weak as the laundering started at the beginning of 2001. The prosecutors should verify how much was received, from whom, for what and the benefits the donors received in return for a contribution.

Looking into these irregularities shows that the violations allegedly committed by Kim Hong-up were more organized and better planned than those committed by Kim Hong-gul. But Kim Hong-up denies the charges, claiming that the prosecutors should present the evidence.

Kim Sung-hwan is also keeping his mouth closed over allegations involving Kim Hong-up. Kim Hong-up should confess his wrongdoing. A sincere confession and heartfelt penitence are the only way to lighten the burden on President Kim and quench the people's anger.
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