[EDITORIALS]Truth and the Hyundai loan

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[EDITORIALS]Truth and the Hyundai loan

Truth will always reveal itself. The truth about where, how and why the Korea Development Bank's 400 billion won ($330 million) loan to Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. was spent will also reveal itself. Kim Choong-shik, former president of the shipping company, revealed a little. The opposition Grand National Party, which has alleged that $100 million of the loan was sent to North Korea, has specified the time and the place the money was transmitted to the North, and identified the person who sent the money and his telephone calls involving the issue.

It must have been extremely difficult, as Mr.Kim said, to spill the beans about the company he used to head. But the suspicions involving the 400-billion-won loan are no longer the problems of individuals or companies. They may be so serious that Korea has to re-establish the basics of country and government, and redefine its relationship with the North. How could 400 billion won be lent to Hyundai Merchant Marine when the lender could not even get on the loan document the signature of the firm's head, who said he had insisted adamantly that the company not take the loan? The GNP's assertion of the time and route by which the money was funneled to Pyeongyang is too specific and detailed to ignore as a politically-motivated allegation.

The attitudes of the government and the shipping company in the face of a series of press reports, accounts by those involved and mounting circumstantial evidence, are deplorable. The Board of Audit and Inspection finished an extended examination of the Korea Development Bank yesterday, but Hyundai Marine refused to submit relevant documents. The Financial Supervisory Commission has remained silent. The government auditor said that if Hyundai continued to decline to submit the documents, the agency could report the firm to public prosecutors. The audit agency must speedily do so.

Some senior officials at the audit board have suggested that to disclose the result of their investigation might burden the current administration before the December presidential election. Others said that the probe could be shortened if the chief auditor so chose. Such remarks only fuel suspicions and injure the authority of the audit board.

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