[EDITORIALS]Time to start talkingAs investigations continue on allegations involving Sun & Moon, a resort company, suspicions about a connection with President Roh Moo-hyun have continued. Mr. Roh’s closest aides allegedly received bribes from the company. Following a statement that the company asked Mr. Roh, when he was a presidential candidate, to call tax officials to ask for tax reductions, it appears now that Mr. Roh invited Sun & Moon’s chairman to dinner at the Blue House.
Who is Moon Byeong-ok, the chairman of Sun & Moon? He is a high school fellow alumni of Mr. Roh, and is suspected of bribing or asking tax favors of Lee Kwang-jae, a former presidential aide; Ahn Hee-jung, one of Mr. Roh’s campaign managers and Yeo Taek-su, a Blue House secretary. That’s not all. Prosecutors also suspect that Mr. Moon gave 20 million won to Shin Sang-woo, vice chairman of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification.
The company’s vice chairman, Kim Seong-rae, told a court that Mr. Moon met with Mr. Roh in Busan last year during the election campaign. After Mr. Roh won the presidency, they had lunch together, the statement said, and Mr. Moon was quoted as saying, “I want to give a hotel [to you].”
But Mr. Roh has avoided talking in detail about the allegations. In a joint interview with media of the North Chungcheong region, Mr. Roh said, “I know Mr. Moon well from a long time ago, but I did not receive much help from him. If I say something, it might influence the investigation of the prosecution, so I will speak of him no more.”
That makes sense, but new allegations sprout day by day, and it may be difficult for Mr. Roh to govern the nation properly. Because an independent counsel probe is planned and another special prosecutor is likely to investigate the illegal election fund scandal, there is no reason for Mr. Roh to delay his confession. He should reveal honestly how much he received from Sun & Moon and where the money is now. He should also make it clear if he made phone calls asking tax favors for the firm. That would also help the prosecution complete its investigation early.