Police say public workers gave $14.7 million to DLPPolice said yesterday that they suspect the Democratic Labor Party collected 17 billion won ($14.7 million) from up to 2,600 teachers and civil servants who were registered as party members. Teachers and civil servants are banned from political activity.
Police said the sum was transferred to the DLP’s official bank account from another account which was not registered with the National Election Commission.
“Since late 2006 to last year, 16 billion won out of the 17 billion won was found to have been transferred to the party’s official bank account,” said an investigator on the case.
During a related police investigation, an arrest warrant for Democratic Labor Party Secretary General Oh Byeong-yun was issued on Tuesday. Oh allegedly removed two hard drives containing what police called crucial information regarding alleged “political activity” by civil servants and teachers.
Party head Kang Ki-kab said at a press conference yesterday that the money laundering charge is “unfathomable” and that the DLP is extremely strict when it comes to accounting issues.
Oh said that the money the DLP is accused of taking from the teachers and civil servants did not come from union members and that it was a simple mistake that the bank account was not registered at the NEC. He also denied illegally taking the disk drives.
Last Thursday, the Yeongdeungpo Police Precinct officers obtained a DLP computer server at the KT Internet Data Center in Bundang, Gyeonggi, as part of their investigation into possible illegal political activity by a left-wing teachers’ union and a civil-service union.
After searching through the server, police found that 120 members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union and the Korean Government Employees’ Union were registered as members on the DLP Web site.
On Sunday, police seized nine more computer servers at the KT center belonging to the DLP.
Police said Oh removed two hard drives from a DLP server last week that contained information about online voting activity of the union members.
At the moment, a server-hosting company identified as “S” is operating the DLP’s server, on lease from KT. Police said that Oh pocketed the disks after persuading an employee at S to let him do so.
The employee at S, identified as “A,” has been indicted without physical detention by the police on charges of giving the hard disk to Oh.
Additionally, the police said that they suspect two to three other DLP members are involved in confiscating the hard disks and are planning to request arrest warrants for them as well.
DLP officials, however, said that the two hard disks were not “pocketed” by them, but were sent to them from S after the DLP officially requested their return.
In an emergency DLP meeting on Tuesday morning, Oh said that he asked for S to “protect the DLP’s server.”
“The server is our [DLP] property and [anything involving the server] should be our decision. It is not for the prosecutors or police to interfere,” he said. Police suspect that the hard drives also contained information on party payments and online registration.
As speculation grew that the case might lead to a large-scale investigation on leading DLP members, Oh Se-in, a prosecutor handling the case, said, “The essence of the case is not an investigation of the DLP. The goal is to find any illegal political activity by teachers and public servants which goes against the constitution.”
By Cho Jae-eun, Kim Jeen-kyung [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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