[EDITORIALS]Envoy’s loan looks suspicious

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[EDITORIALS]Envoy’s loan looks suspicious

It’s been revealed that Im Hong-jae, the Korean ambassador to Iraq, has borrowed $15,000 from Kim Chun-ho, the president of Cana General Trading Co., which employed Kim Sun-il, the man killed by Islamic militants in Iraq. Mr. Im paid back the money to Mr. Kim after Kim Sun-il’s death.
We are dumbfounded at the envoy’s behavior. Most of all, we feel frustrated that such a practice ― an overseas mission chief borrowing money from a Korean expatriate ― still persists.
It is unimaginable that the ambassador should borrow money from the head of the company that employs Mr. Kim during such a turbulent time and pays it back quietly after his death. If Mr. Kim had not been killed, what was Mr. Im going to do with that money?
The money could provide a clue to solving the suspicions involving the embassy that were raised in connection with Mr. Kim’s death. The Audit and Inspection Board must thoroughly investigate the ties between Mr. Im and Mr. Kim of Cana Trading during the period from Mr. Kim’s disappearance until his death. It must be clarified whether the money was a bribe, and why Mr. Im returned the money after Mr. Kim was killed.
The negligence of embassy officials that was disclosed before and after Mr. Kim’s death aroused the public’s anger. They didn’t know that one Korean resident, out of only a few dozen, had been missing for a couple of weeks.
After Mr. Kim’s death, the embassy tried to defend itself, saying, “The embassy took the measure of warning Korean residents through e-mail.”
On this occasion, we cannot but help commenting on the attitude of embassy officials toward their duty. It is unbelievable that a deal involving money between overseas officials and a Korean expatriate still occurs. As officials continue repeating bad old habits, criticism against the Foreign Ministry will never die.
On this occasion, the audit board should clear suspicions lingering over such dark areas. The ministry should do its part by launching an in-house investigation.

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