[EDITORIALS]A vigorous probe is neededProsecutors say documents supporting the charge that Kwon Roh-kap, a former member of the Millennium Democratic Party leadership, received $30 million from the Hyundai Group have turned up in the United States.
They say the papers will show that the money was transferred to a Swiss bank account for him, and now the question is where the money went from there and by what route.
The former chief executive of Hyundai Merchant Marine, Kim Choong-sik, and his lawyer have been after the documents in the United States. They have told the prosecutors that they now have them and that the amount is actually $25 million.
Mr. Kwon has so far denied the charges against him, and we cannot prejudge his guilt. But if the allegation is proven true, what we have is no piggy-bank heist. The $30 million is equal to 36 billion won, while $25 million is 30 billion won, still an enormous amount of money.
Another key aide to former President Kim Dae-jung, Park Jie-won, is on trial for allegedly accepting bribes and the prosecution has asked for a 20-year prison sentence and 15 billion won in fines against him. Mr. Park has vehemently denied the charge that he took 15 billion won from Hyundai.
Mr. Kwon has also been indicted for allegedly taking 20 billion won from the money Hyundai has stashed away.
The money that leaked out of the country must be recovered, because it would have been part of this country’s national wealth had it not been for shady dealings between an immoral government and a private company. That is the reason the prosecution must act on this case quickly. But it faces a number of obstacles in its work.
Mr. Kim, the former Hyundai chief executive, has been missing in the United States since the death of Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun in August. And the bank accounts involved are outside the jurisdiction of this country. But the prosecution should not wait until Mr. Kim decides to present himself. It should begin cooperating with the U.S. authorities to bring him back.