[EDITORIALS]Travel ban hurts businessThe prosecution has requested that 20 or so conglomerate owners and executives be banned from leaving the country during its investigation of last year’s presidential election campaign funding. As a result, business has been disrupted as executives cancel their travel plans.
Illegal campaign funds are the best example of the cozy ties between conglomerates and politicians. The truth behind last year’s presidential campaign funds must be uncovered if only to stop the same thing from happening again in the next campaign. This investigation, we hope, will reveal the faults and shortcomings of the campaign funds system.
Some of the funding was money extorted by politicians. Other cash was given as explicit or implicit bribes in return for political favors.
But the state of our businesses is directly related to our national interests. If the business owners and executives are to line up before the prosecutors’ offices, not only would it damage the image of the businesses, it would damage the international credibility of our economy. That is why the prosecution must conduct its investigation in such a way as to minimize the bad influence it could have on business activity. Because the purpose of this investigation is to uncover the truth behind the campaign funds, the scope of the inquiry must be limited to that alone and the investigations must be conducted promptly.
The prosecution should reconsider the travel ban. Such bans are appropriate only when there is a flight risk or evidence might be destroyed. It must have come as a shock for the owner of the second largest business in Korea to have found himself banned from leaving the country. Would such a prominent figure refuse to appear at the prosecution’s office when called?
The prosecution, at the minimum, should have the flexibility to temporarily lift the travel ban if an executive has a good reason for overseas travel. The businesses, along with the politicians, should also cooperate with the prosecution to allow the investigation to be completed quickly.