[EDITORIALS]Businessmen should get breakThe prosecution has started to take legal action against businessmen connected to illegal presidential campaign funds. On Saturday, the prosecutors decided not to indict LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo. Instead, they decided to prosecute Kang Yu-sig, a vice chairman, without physical detention.
For other businesses, prosecutors reportedly have set a guideline that they would not prosecute conglomerate owners who are not proved to be directly involved in presidential campaign fund transactions. If they were found to have ties to illegal campaign funds, they would be indicted without detention.
The Korean Bar Association, however, criticized the guideline, saying, “The prosecution should not compromise the investigation under the excuse of political practice and economic reality.”
It urged the prosecution to thoroughly investigate and harshly punish those accountable so that ordinary people would not think that “there is a law for the rich and another for the poor.” Civic groups, like People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, have also criticized the prosecution.
But after much pondering, we think that the prosecution made a wise decision.
The reason that the prosecutors decided to minimize the punishment of businessmen, even if they broke the law, might be because they think that cultivating the soil for the healthy growth of our society is no less important than punishing the wrongs of the past. The prosecutors might have thought that it is better to look to the future instead of clinging to the past.
The remaining task is obvious now. First of all, the businessmen must be determined to never get involved in political funds. They must keep in mind that people will never forgive them if they commit illegal acts.
They must refuse politicians’ request to provide illegal funds. They have to stop using the excuse that they donated money as a kind of insurance premium to protect their interests.
We hope the prosecutors will conclude their investigations of businessmen as soon as possible. It is our hope that society sheds the shameful past tainted with illegal political funds and embarks on a new start.