Police say public workers gave $14.7 million to DLP

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Police say public workers gave $14.7 million to DLP

Police 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 [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

“민노당, 불법계좌로 3년간 170억 관리…입당 공무원 숫자 한때 2600여 명 달해”

서울 영등포경찰서는 민주노동당이 선거관리위원회에 신고 안 한 불법 계좌를 통해 3년간 170억여원의 자금을 관리한 것으로 파악하고 경위를 수사 중이다.

수사 관계자는 10일 “2006년 말부터 지난해까지 불법 계좌에 보관돼 있던 170억여원 중 160억여원이 당 공식계좌로 이체된 것으로 확인됐다”며 “이 중에는 오병윤 사무총장이 회계책임자로 있던 2008년 8월부터 지난해 11월까지 공식계좌 2곳으로 이체한 55억여원도 포함된다”고 말했다.

경찰은 또 민노당에 가입한 공무원이 2000년대 중반 2600여 명에 달했던 사실도 밝혀냈다. 경찰이 민노당 등에서 압수한 문건을 분석한 결과 전교조 소속은 2000여 명, 전공노 소속은 600여 명에 이른다. 경찰 관계자는 “당비를 내고 투표에 참여하는 등 불법 정치활동의 증거가 확실한 공무원부터 조사하고 있다”고 말했다.
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