Bribery disclosureThe Catholic Priests Association for Justice yesterday disclosed the names of more suspected Samsung bribe-takers.
One hundred days have passed since the association’s first revelation concerning three former and incumbent prosecutors last November.
“We decided to release the names because people who have cozy relations with Samsung will become key officials in the new administration’s intelligence service and the financial watchdog,” the priests’ group said.
The accused and Samsung flatly rejected the claim, calling it “groundless.” We believe the independent counsel must immediately begin investigating the charges because the normal operation of governance is impossible if top officials’ ethics are in question.
Based on circumstantial evidence, the Catholic Priests Association said two officials were routinely bribed by Samsung. One of the officials visited the company to collect expenses for his summer vacation. The group said while Kim Yong-cheol was a Samsung lawyer, he delivered a bribe to the other official by hand.
The disclosure is more detailed than last year, but the evidence is insufficient. Kim, a former veteran prosecutor and a lawyer, must have something more to prove his claim when he decided to release the names of the accused bribe-takers.
For a disclosure to be a disclosure, the whistle-blower has to produce evidence; otherwise we are left with nothing more than irresponsible slander. That is why Kim must fully cooperate with the independent counsel probe.
The initial release of the three names by the Catholic Priests Association for Justice took place on the eve of the inauguration of the new prosecutor-general. This time, the names were released on the eve of the prosecution’s reshuffle of key posts. They demanded that the Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office and the central investigation unit of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office be led by someone unrelated to Samsung.
The priests’ group must make public the entire list of the prosecutors who it said had received bribes from Samsung. It is inappropriate to make public bribery accusations until after the prosecution finishes its reshuffle.
Senior figures from the government, intelligence and law agencies have been accused of receiving bribes. The independent counsel must declare the truth as soon as possible because the prosecution cannot probe the case.
We hope the priests’ group and Kim will cooperate on the investigation.