[EDITORIALS]Watching the prosecutors

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[EDITORIALS]Watching the prosecutors

The prosecution's investigations of the current scandals have raised suspicions about its intentions. Two examples are the prosecution's announcements that Choi Gyu-seon gave $200,000 to the Grand National Party leader and that Kim Dae-woong, the head of the Gwangju High Prosecutors' Office, leaked investigation details to Lee Soo-dong, former director of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation. Both announcements were made without clear evidence, and raised suspicions that they were made to disguise the results of other investigations or were motivated by outside influence.

On Wednesday, the prosecution said that Song Jae-bin, the head of Tiger Pools International, testified that he was told that Choi Gyu-seon gave $200,000 to former GNP president Lee Hoi-chang. It is wrong for the prosecution to publicize the testimony of someone being investigated. Moreover, the content of the testimony is nothing more than hearsay. If he is talking not about what he did but about what he heard from someone, his credibility is no greater than that of Sul Hun, the legislator who promised a tape to prove bribery by an opposition figure but could not produce it. Kim Hee-wan, a former vice mayor of Seoul who allegedly witnessed the bribe, is in hiding.

The announcement that Kim Dae-woong is responsible for leaking investigation reports to Mr. Lee is also suspicious. At the time of the announcement, the prosecution appeared to be ready to prosecute Mr. Kim. After a few days, however, they changed Mr. Kim's status from suspect to material witness. Then the summons was delayed for two weeks and is still pending a month after the announcement.

It is especially suspicious that the two announcements were made on days when evidence decisively harmful to Kim Hong-gul, the third son of President Kim, was revealed. The announcement of Mr. Song's testimony was made right after it was shown that Kim Hong-gul received 300 million won ($230,000) from Choi Gyu-seon. The news about Mr. Kim was released right after Choi Gyu-seon announced that he had given money to Mr. Kim.

The prosecution under Lee Myong-jae is investigating scandals involving powerful politicians at a frenetic pace. It should stay neutral, leave no one off limits and take care that calls for an independent counsel do not mount.
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