[EDITORIALS]Tangled vine of allegationsThe truth behind a Millennium Democratic Party lawmaker’s claim that the former Grand National Party leader, Lee Hoi-chang, accepted $200,000 from a businessman, Choi Gyu-seon, must be revealed. Representative Sul Hoon confessed in a trial that he made the accusation in April last year after receiving the information from the then Blue House civil affairs secretary. The statement prompted suspicions that the prosecution did not investigate the case properly, and that there was systemic involvement of high-ranking authorities.
There was speculation that the ruling camp made the accusation to embarrass the leader of the opposition party to divert attention from scandals involving the sons of the president, Kim Dae-jung.
In addition to the civil affairs secretary, the personal secretary to the president was reportedly also involved in the smear campaign against Mr. Lee. The two aides were closed to Park Jie-won, the president’s chief of staff. It is still difficult to believe that Blue House secretaries alone convinced the lawmaker to make the allegation.
Mr. Sul said in court that the Blue House fed him the information and he made the accusations. Almost all their information turned out to be true, he said. Mr. Sul, indeed, made another allegation surrounding Mr. Lee’s luxury apartment -- which was later substantiated.
As the presidential election drew near, allegations were raised about Mr. Lee and his family. His son was accused of manipulating stock prices; his daughter-in-law was criticized for arranging to give birth to her child overseas and his wife was criticized for accepting money from a construction firm. Because such allegations were based on information that only government agencies can have, it was natural for us to speculate that the past administration planned the move.
The mastermind of this smear campaign must be revealed. The prosecution should review the slowness of the probes and do its best to find the truth.