[EDITORIALS]Good job by prosecutionThe discovery by the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office that there were additional slush funds raised by the Hyundai Group is a notable accomplishment. The prosecution in the investigation of Hyundai’s involvement in the cash-for-summit scandal has found the existence of a previously unknown 10 billion won ($8.4 million) in the course of looking for 15 billion won in cash that allegedly went to former presidential chief of staff Park Jie-won and was then laundered by an arms dealer, Kim Yeong-wan. It is a feat that confirmed the prosecution’s determination to pursue the case, even in the face of President Roh Moo-hyun’s reluctance to name a second special prosecutor in the scandal.
The prosecution now has the job of meticulously digging into the case to find out how the money was spent. They reportedly have evidence that the funds were raised and laundered just before the general election of April 13, 2000. Ruling Millennium Democratic Party members say that not a penny from the fund went to their campaigns, an allegation that is almost certainly untrue. The opposition Grand National Party says it is finding out something it has suspected all along, and it was exactly because of the cash that the ruling party was adamantly opposed to another independent counsel investigation. The politicians’ debate will never produce the answer to the question, and so it is up to the prosecution to get the facts. It cannot allow the repeat of past errors of allowing investigations of improper campaign contributions be derailed by politicians.
The prosecution must also not let Hyundai Asan Chairman Chung Mong-hun’s death get in the way of their determination to find the truth. Hyundai officials must be questioned about the funds and who received the money through what channel. The three-year statute of limitations should not stop the prosecution from finding the persons who received the funds and prosecuting them.
Just as it is displaying some dignity in the pursuit of crime in the Goodmorning City bribery scandal, the investigation of the Hyundai slush funds should be another opportunity to find a good answer.