[EDITORIALS]Confess and get on track

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[EDITORIALS]Confess and get on track

Suspicions about the 400 billion won ($359 million) loan to Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. and the stock price-rigging scandal involving Hyundai Electronics Industries Inc. have remained unsolved and politically explosive. Now more suspicion has been raised about funds missing from the electronics company's accounts.

The missing $100 million involves a typical case of raising slush funds through a phony overseas account. Creditors of the chipmaker, which is now Hynix Semiconductor Inc., its accounting firm and Korea's financial regulators have all confirmed that the money disappeared through an accounting gimmick called a loss write-off. Now people want to know where the money went.

Lee Ick-chi, a former chairman of Hyundai Securities Co., has raised questions about Hyundai Electronics stock-price manipulation involving funds from Hyundai Heavy Industries. Who ordered the rigging and where did the proceeds go?

Outrageously, all people involved in those incidents are saying nothing or claim they do not know anything about the matters. Among them are an incumbent chief executive officer, the country's chief financial regulator and a presidential hopeful.

As long as the key element of those scandals is the whereabouts of the money, the issues can never be left buried, no matter whether they involve secret funding to North Korea or political deals.

Those matters are already scandals on a national scale, because many key political figures were intertwined in the process by which the funds were spent.

The government must be quick to get to the truth about the scandals that have surfaced one after another, not only to right the economic wrongs but also to put the country back in order. That is the only way to stop the vicious circle of disclosures and disorder that is repeated during every transition period. Full disclosure will also prevent our international credibility from being marred after our efforts to rebuild it after the economic crisis.
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