[EDITORIALS]Time is up, but case isn't

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[EDITORIALS]Time is up, but case isn't

So much to do and so little time left. The special investigation team led by prosecutor Cha Jung-il was launched last December to investigate the Lee Yong-ho financial scandal. But with the Lee Yong-ho case spreading like tentacles, the team, which will close its doors on March 25, has little time to resolve this scandal. While attention naturally is shifting to what comes after the investigation, the team must remember that it still has a week left and a lot to do.

In the three months investigating the Lee Yong-ho matter, Mr. Cha and his team have done brilliant. Like Ezekiel's dry bones, the team dug up and connected the brother of a former prosecutor general, a nephew of the first lady and a former executive director of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation -- and others -- to Lee Yong-ho and indicted them on charges of taking bribes from the businessman. Every time the team uncovered a new twist of corruption among those in high places, the public applauded. The team's "no exception, no exemption" investigation of important figures in politics made its achievements shine even brighter.

But the "Lee Yong-ho gate" has a long way to go. Even with the task of uncovering all those involved in Mr. Lee's stock rigging scheme, which is suspected to have generated millions of dollars, still pending, now rumors are being heard about a golf bag stuffed with money that passed between businessmen and politicians. Then there are the two big mysteries of how Lee Yong-ho's money found its way into President Kim Dae-jung's Peace Foundation and how certain classified materials of the probe found their way out of a high-ranking prosecutor's office.

The special investigation team should keep in mind that their last week will pretty much pave the way for the general prosecutors who will follow in their footsteps next. Mr. Cha must make sure that all the evidence and materials concerning suspicions are passed on to the prosecutors. The recent development in the investigation concerning the peace foundation's involvement and the chain of money traced to the foundation's executives could lead to explosive discoveries. The independent counsel raised the questions, and the prosecutors must answer them. Lee Myung-jae, the new prosecutor general, came into office amid expectations. This is his chance to prove himself.
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