[EDITORIALS]Lopsided and unfair probeThe illegal campaign finance investigation, which has shaken the nation for the last four months, is drawing to an end. Prosecutors said they would finish investigating politicians by March 6.
It is a good decision by the prosecution to wrap up the investigations as early as they can. This is because businesses that are involved in the case have almost stopped operations now, which makes for difficult economic times.
But we believe that if the investigation is concluded as it now stands, it would result in still more disputes about whether it was balanced. Who would believe a report that said the nation’s four largest conglomerates gave 72 billion won ($62 million) to the opposition Grand National Party ― and nothing to President Roh’s campaign?
The investigations of funds used by the parties in their primary elections is also a problem. While Hahn Hwa-kap who quit the Millennium Democratic Party’s primary election quest in the early stages of the race. He is the subject of a detention warrant on charges of using illegal funds, Roh Moo-hyun and Chung Dong-young, who also competed with Mr. Hahn in the race, appear to have been cleared of any charges.
The data also suggest that the opposition party’s total illegal money was a colossal sum, while that of the Roh camp was at most around 1 billion won. That does not sound convincing either.
The prosecution said it plans to summon and question Shin Geh-ryoon, a lawmaker with Our Open Party, comprised of Roh sympathizers, on suspicion that he received 300 million won from Goodmoney, a private lending firm. Mr. Shin is the man who said, “I never received even 1 won” when allegations that Goodmoney gave 3 billion won to the Roh camp first surfaced.
It appears that the prosecution regards the alleged illegal money received by Mr. Shin as an individual action. It seems to regard the corruption among Mr. Roh’s aides as private dealings as well, with no connection to the president. But they have looked over the Grand National Party with a magnifying glass.
How much money did Mr. Roh get? If the prosecution cannot or will not say, it will be tarred with allegations of deferring to the current powers-that-be.