&#91EDITORIALS&#93Hiding behind closed doors

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Hiding behind closed doors

We now know that Park Jie-won, the president's chief of staff, was interrogated by the prosecution on suspicion of bribery. He was suspected of taking 40 million won ($34,000) from the CEO of a start-up company. The prosecution in Suwon dismissed the case after it could not substantiate the charge after interrogating him on Jan. 20.

Explanations of the case have not cleared up the suspicions. Furthermore, the investigation was not transparent. This case is rife with many suspicions. Mr. Park's side said, "The CEO gave 10 million won to Mr. Park at the funeral of Mr. Park's relative as a condolence in January 1998. But the money was returned." The reason was not clear why Mr. Park initially received the money. It is also perplexing why Mr. Park had to return the money. We also cannot understand why the CEO later changed his earlier statement that he gave 40 million won to Mr. Park.

We are wondering whether the prosecutors are sane. Why did they interrogate Mr. Park in a hotel room? Common sense dictates that the higher the official, the more transparent the interrogation procedure should be. We deplore that hotel interrogations are still alive although they were said to have been put to rest under the military regimes. This is a perfect example of the prosecution helping a bigwig wiggle out of a suspicion of wrongdoing. How can the prosecution ask to be free from political pressure?

Officials from top to bottom in the prosecution who were involved in this case should be held accountable. We cannot but question senior prosecutors' qualifications if they allowed the president's chief of staff to be interrogated in a hotel room. The case against Mr. Park should be brought up again to be fully addressed. A new investigation team should be formed. How can the prosecution expect the people to believe its inquiry was fair when it was done under such circumstances? We would like to ask the prosecution and Mr. Park why they did not conduct the probe under public scrutiny if he was innocent and the prosecution had nothing to hide.
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