[EDITORIALS]Answers needed nowAn allegation was raised during the televised discussion Sunday between President Roh Moo-hyun and prosecutors that outside pressure was applied during the prosecutors’ recent investigation into the SK Group’s insider trading case. This illustrates the problems between the government and the prosecution.
Lee Sang-soo, floor leader of the Millennium Democratic Party, said in a press conference yesterday that he asked “who should be held responsible if a patient dies during a forced operation” during a phone discussion with the prosecutor-general. But he denied that he tried to influence the investigation. It is one thing if the floor leader of the ruling party is concerned about the deteriorating economy, but it is another if he conveyed such a position to the prosecution. Prosecutors cannot but feel pressured by such words from a ruling party bigwig. Mr. Lee, a former lawyer, must have known that what he said was one of the ways political camps try to influence prosecutors.
“There is no communications channel between the government and the prosecution, so I called the prosecutor-general,” Mr. Lee said. But the general opinion is why there should be a “communications channel” between the ruling party and the prosecution unless they plan investigations for political purposes?
Mr. Lee denied the allegation that he threatened that “somebody might get hurt.” It must be clarified who spoke those words. Also, who was the other senior government official who allegedly put pressure on the prosecution? Mr. Lee also said that for the last presidential election he “raised 12 billion won ($10 million) for the ruling party, lobbying the top 100 corporations in Korea.” Was the alleged pressure to stop the inquiry into SK Group related to that “political insurance?” We ask President Roh to take action against those who put pressure on the prosecution and make clear his position that interference in prosecution’s investigations will not be tolerated.