[EDITORIALS]Keep up the pressureLee Kwang-jae, a former presidential secretary who is said to be most influential among the presidential aides, appeared yesterday before the prosecutors for investigation. To the prosecutors, he said he received 100 million won ($84,200) from Moon Byeong-ok, chairman of Sun & Moon Group, last year and handed the money over to a Millennium Democratic Party official.
But we do not know to what extent he is telling the truth, because he had stubbornly denied accepting money in the past. In October, when news reports detailed the Sun & Moon allegations, he proclaimed, “I have received not a penny of illegal money. If the prosecutors want, I will respond to their summons for investigation any time.”
Now, he says, “I intended to confess frankly, but I was not courageous enough to make a confession.” It is confusing, however, that Lee Sang-soo of Our Open Party, who was in charge of the overall operation of the Roh Moo-hyun camp in last year’s election, said he did not receive any money from Mr. Kim.
The prosecutors are responsible because they let Mr. Lee come up with lies by delaying their investigation. They were clued into Mr. Lee’s acceptance of money in April when they were checking out Kim Seong-rae, vice chairman of Sun & Moon. But they postponed the investigation for a lack of evidence. They belatedly restarted the investigation after the appointment of an independent counsel was decided.
Who is Mr. Lee? He is said to be one of a few who made a significant contribution to Mr. Roh’s election. It should be clarified whether Mr. Roh knew of the election fund, what the basis was for the rumor that Mr. Roh’s election camp received 9.5 billion won, and whether there was any additional money received from business concerns other than Sun & Moon.
The prosecutors must investigate irregularities of presidential aides closely until the special prosecutors start their own probe. Not only should they look at the wrongdoings themselves, but also at what level the reports were made.