Strong determination is the keyThe investigation into corruption surrounding Busan Savings Bank Group has stretched to all corridors of power. The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s central investigation unit announced that it has opened a probe into Kim Hae-soo, the chief executive of the state-run Korea Construction Management Corp. and former secretary to President Lee Myung-bak for political affairs.
The special investigation unit has been looking into bribery and other forms of corruption in connection with suspended savings banks, after they caused huge savings losses for consumers for three months now.
But the investigation has so far been revolving around the financial sector - even as many suspect connections to politicians. Because Busan Savings Bank had been lobbying to hide its irregularities and poor management for many years, both opposition and ruling parties have come under suspicion.
Prosecutors finally caught up with the political circle after banning former Democratic Party Representative Suh Gab-won from leaving the country earlier this week.
If the move on Suh suggests a starting point, the decision to investigate Kim underscores the prosecutors’ determination to get to the bottom of the case.
Kim is under suspicion for typical power corruption. Even though he denies the charges against him, circumstantial evidence is abundant.
Kim, who has been regarded as a member of President Lee’s inner circle since he served on Lee’s presidential campaign in 2007, has pocketed bribes on numerous occasions.
When he ran for a National Assembly seat in 2008, he allegedly received campaign funds worth millions of won. After moving to the Blue House as a secretary, he is again suspected of interfering in the Board of Audit and Inspection’s audit of money-losing savings banks in May 2010.
The prosecution must stake its name and credibility on the investigation. The central investigation unit, which specializes in major political scandals, was on the verge of getting disbanded with both ruling and opposition parties reaching agreement to shut the unit down.
The special team has been under fire for dillydallying and rarely winning fights with politicians.
Prosecutors must display resolution and thoroughness by delving deeply into the case in order to answer to the victims of the banks.