No more silly investigationsIn the footsteps of the ruling Saenuri Party, the main opposition Democratic United Party is struck with mounting suspicion over rigged proportional representative nominations in the April legislative election. Trading seats of the National Assembly for money is the worst election crime. It shatters voters’ trust in democracy. The prosecution must get to the bottom of the case.
It all began with Yang Gyeong-suk, the former CEO of a liberal Internet broadcasting company, who allegedly received 4 billion won ($3.5 million) from three political aspirants before the election and delivered some of the money to DUP floor leader Park Jie-won. A member of the party’s supreme council at the time, Park was in a position to wield influence in nominating candidates as proportional representatives. The court has issued arrest warrants for all of them after accepting the prosecution’s request. The court is convinced that there were nasty deals among the four and there is a possibility of destruction of evidence.
With the source of the money revealed, the prosecution’s next step is to find out who took the money. The prosecution has confirmed the four met with Park collectively or individually a month before the election and that each of the three representative hopefuls gave Park 5 million won. Interestingly, however, the 4 billion won Yang received from them has evaporated. If that large amount of money was withdrawn from Yang’s bank account, it will definitely leave a trace. The prosecution must discover where the money went to determine if it is simply an individual case of corruption or bribery in exchange for nomination.
Park Jie-won denied all of those allegations, saying, “I have nothing to do with the case. If Yang talked about kickbacks for nominations and mentioned my name, it is just a story.” The DUP criticized the way the prosecution deals with separate nomination corruption cases in both parties, saying that a central investigation unit under the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office began a probe into a bribery case of the DUP while a district prosecutor’s office is conducting an investigation into a corruption case of the ruling party.
The prosecution should prevent misunderstandings from politicians with a swift and fair investigation. If the central investigation unit ends up with a farcical probe without substance, it will further tarnish the image of the prosecution.