Park should cooperate in probe

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Park should cooperate in probe

Opposition Democratic United Party floor leader Park Jie-won is under investigation on charges of taking bribes of 100 million won ($87,500) from two executives of insolvent savings banks.

Despite the prosecution’s notification to appear at the prosecutors’ office for interrogation, he and his party rejected it in what amounts to an outright negation of legal system.

By resorting to extreme rhetoric, Park insists on his innocence: “If the charges prove true, I’ll disembowel myself.” Many, however, remain suspicious. He was jailed for two and half years for taking 100 million won in bribes from SK and Kumho Group while serving as chief presidential secretary in the Kim Dae-jung administration. He vowed not to do it again.

His words have lost all credibility. He claimed that Park Geun-hye, interim leader of the ruling Saenuri Party and a presidential contender, had met lobbyist Park Tae-gyu to help insolvent savings banks, claiming he recorded conversations between the two. But he didn’t reveal them, which led to a libel suit by Park Geun-hye.

Park Jie-won was involved in individual corruption. Yet the DUP has branded it as part of the ruling camp’s political offensive and set up an organization to counter the accusation, with even the supreme council joining forces in rejecting the subpoena. The party failed to draw a line between public and private matters.

When an arrest motion for Saenuri Party lawmaker Chung Doo-un was vetoed by a majority of representatives in the National Assembly last week, Park vehemently denounced it. “The Saenuri Party betrayed its promise to relinquish a privilege of immunity,” he said. But the DUP now rejects even the prosecution’s subpoena, not an arrest motion.

If Park continues to ignore the subpoena, the prosecution can obtain an arrest warrant from the court after the Assembly’s special session ends Aug. 3. But the DUP is expected to call for an extraordinary session in August to block prosecutors’ execution of an arrest warrant.

The law stipulates that lawmakers cannot be arrested without consent from peer lawmakers while the Assembly is in session. An arrest motion for Park will most likely be vetoed, as in the case of Chung. Then the DUP can convene the regular September session as “bulletproof.”

If innocent, Park must go to the prosecutors’ office and explain. He and his party ignore the simplest common sense.

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