Importance of impartialityThe investigation of Taekwang Industrial Chairman Park Yeon-cha is entering a new phase.
After seizing and searching the National Tax Service the day before yesterday, prosecutors raided the home and offices of Chun Shin-il chairman of Sejoong Namo Tour and the homes of those who worked with him.
The investigation of Chun, an old friend of President Lee Myung-bak, can be considered round three of the Park investigations.
The first round came during the early investigations into government political figures and opposition party members such as Choo Boo-kil, a former secretary to President Lee Myung-bak, and Lee Kwang-jae, a Democratic Party representative.
Then came round two with the investigation of former President Roh Moo-hyun. Round three could be much more complicated and muddled because it involves “live power.”
Chun is an influential figure in the current administration, both in name and in reality. He is more than just close friends with the current president. They went to college together, watched each other rise through the ranks of political and business power, and generally relied on each other for half a century. Politically, Chun rendered distinguished services to make Lee president during the presidential election process. In fact, he was basically chief sponsor.
This is fueling the continuous rumor that Chun influences various human resource appointment processes since the start of the Lee administration.
Prosecutors are bound to feel outside pressure.
Chun and Park have a very close relationship. They come from the same hometown, and Chun is the older brother of Park’s friend. They say Park always treated Chun with even more respect than he would a brother.
The results of the National Tax Service investigation already confirm the difficulties of investigating Chun. Prosecutors found that the National Tax Service hid material on Chun during investigations of Park. That suggests the organization could not fulfill its official duties because of Chun’s political importance and influence.
Now everything is left in the hands of prosecutors. They need complete an investigation that is free from Chun’s political influence. They should discover and report on why the National Tax Service hid the evidence, too.
The final round remains. Round four will involve the investigation of senior prosecutors who received money from Park. Prosecutors, therefore, will have to prosecute their own. Then and only then will the people judge whether the investigations were fair.