[EDITORIALS]We need answers now

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[EDITORIALS]We need answers now

The Blue House is stirring up doubts on President Kim Dae-jung's three sons by providing inaccurate explanations. Allegations of corruption involving his third son, Kim Hong-gul, are growing worse because of the Blue House's attitude. The Blue House seems trapped in a vicious circle, and what looks like attempted cover-ups are triggering new suspicions.

What Kim Hong-gul has been doing in the United States is a simple example of the Blue House's lousy job. The explanations of the president's spokeswoman, Park Sun-sook, change day to day. A few days ago, Ms. Park said, "Mr. Kim was working as a paid researcher at the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, but his status expired at the end of last year and he renewed it." Ms. Park, however, corrected her explanation Wednesday, saying, "Mr. Kim was no longer a paid researcher but his status as an unpaid researcher is still valid."

The college then released a statement that Mr. Kim has no ties to the school, and Ms. Park changed her words again: She said Mr. Kim can work as an unpaid researcher there if he wants; Mr. Kim had had no contact for quite a while.

Mr. Kim's status would be a small problem if the Blue House had given accurate information from the beginning. The Blue House fueled doubts by trying to deflect criticism about Mr. Kim's luxurious lifestyle. Mr. Kim bought a $970,000 house, a luxury car and spent an average of 87 million won ($67,000) a month for a few months in the United States. The Blue House has stated that he covered the expenses with his salary and loans from his friends.

Mr. Kim's application for the bank loan to buy the house reveals that he falsely listed himself as a citizen of the United States. Mr. Kim's agreement to pay $660,000 to a former Korean lawmaker, Lee Shin-bom, brought to light problems associated with Mr. Kim's land in Ilsan. According to the Blue House, Mr. Kim used the money from selling the land to pay Mr. Lee for dropping a suit against him. That explanation triggered speculation that Mr. Kim made illegal currency transfers. Some asked why he paid to settle a suit already won.

The Grand National Party demands that prosecutors investigate the president. If the Blue House cannot answer the questions, the president's son should provide answers. We need a fair and accurate inquiry -- and quickly.
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