Getting to the bottom of the case

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Getting to the bottom of the case

Park Tae-gyu, a lobbyist who allegedly received billions in won from the debt-ridden Busan Savings Bank, is under investigation by the prosecution after returning home yesterday. He fled to Canada last March as the central investigation unit of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office launched a probe into the profound corruption at the bank.

Against the backdrop of the Busan Savings Bank scandal is the dark shadow of Park’s lobbying activities, aimed at political bigwigs and high-level officials, not to mention the rampant moral hazard among major shareholders and executives. Park has been singled out as the man who holds the key to clearing up suspicions of illegal lobbying for the crippled bank. With his return, the prosecution’s investigation is expected to gain momentum after having come to a standstill.

The prosecution is convinced that Park was at the center of the bank’s effort to draw 100 billion won from the Samsung Dream Scholarship Foundation and the Pohang University of Science and Technology in the process of increasing its paid-in capital. He is also under suspicion of having approached powerful figures in the political arena and the government to lobby for the bank when its operations were about to be suspended by the financial authorities. The prosecution believes that Park allegedly funneled large sums of money to high-ranking politicians from the current administration in exchange for favors to help the insolvent bank stay afloat.

The prosecution must find out who received illicit funds from Park. If it fails to come up with a satisfactory result even after directly questioning him, this will only fuel people’s fury over the unfettered corruption at the bank. The prosecution should also expose the others who participated in lobbying to avert the suspension of the bank, not to mention those who participated in the bank’s illegal lending of 5 trillion won through a phantom company.

The National Assembly’s investigation into the bank ended in complete failure. But Park’s arrival in Seoul now provides the prosecution with a golden opportunity to get to the bottom of the scandal - the worst under the Lee Myung-bak administration.

After a six-month investigation, the prosecution failed to present substantial evidence of politicians’ involvement in the fiasco. Now that Park has returned, it must conduct a thorough investigation into the scandal. That is the only way for the prosecution to prove that justice prevails in our society.

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