Back and forth investigations
The Park Yeon-cha scandal is getting more complicated. Leaders of the Democratic Party maintain that Chun Shin-il, who is close to President Lee Myung-bak, received 1 billion won from Park, the former chairman of Taekwang Industrial, and that Chun donated 3 billion won to Lee’s Grand National Party during the last presidential campaign.
The DP also claims the incumbent administration deliberately allowed Han Sang-ryule, the commissioner of the National Tax Service, to leave the country. They urged prosecutors to investigate the allegations.
Leaders of the Grand National Party, including party chairman Chung Sye-kyun, fired back by accusing the opposition party of spreading false information. The Blue House explains that Lee took out a 3 billion won loan from a bank with Chun’s savings as collateral when Lee ran for the presidency, and last year he paid back the loan with another loan from another bank.
The political community is also divided regarding how former President Roh Moo-hyun should be treated if the charges against him prove to be true. Around the prosecutor’s office, some maintain that summoning Roh might influence the April 29 by-elections so it should be postponed to after the elections.
Such political scandals involving high-powered figures usually go back and forth until the truth is revealed. When the Kim Young-sam administration was in office, the case of Hanbo Chairman Chung Tae-soo’s lobbying broke out. Some argued that the prosecutors beat around the bush without investigating the root of the scandal, until the case was closed.
When former President Kim Dae-jung was in power, whenever big scandals broke out, many had different opinions on how high the scandals reached. No one can know for sure whether the prosecutors’ investigations into these cases were correct or not. But the core of the scandals were revealed more or less and the powerful figures involved were punished.
When a large-scale scandal breaks out, the truth can be found to some extent, if not all. Since there are many witnesses, the truth is hard to hide. The prosecutors’ duty is to keep the momentum going and carry out an investigation in accordance with principles.
The prosecutors must thoroughly investigate the opposition party’s suspicions and show the truth to the people. That is a way for the Lee administration to keep the people’s trust.
It is understandable that the prosecutors are careful regarding the summoning of the former president. But if the prosecutors care too much about the political atmosphere or public opinion, the people might lose trust in the entire investigation.