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Get to the bottom of this

Along with the allegations of the Blue House meddling in the inspections of the former vice Busan mayor and the mayoral election in Ulsan, political aides of President Moon Jae-in are also suspected of playing their hands to arrange favorable loans to Wooridul Hospital whose management board is largely filled by pro-Moon figures. The whistle-blowing involves Lee Sang-ho, founder and president of the hospital, his former wife, and Yang Jeong-cheol, a close confidant of Moon who now heads the ruling party think tank Institute for Democracy, Democratic Party Rep. Jung Jae-ho, and a former presidential staff member Yoon Gyu-keun. Lee Sang-ho, a spine surgery expert, became a loyalist to the progressive front after overseeing a back surgery on President Roh Moo-hyun.

According to charges raised by Shin Hae-sun, who used to be a business partner of the Lee couple, Lee Sang-ho received 200 billion won ($168.4 million) in suspicious loans from state lender Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Shinhan Bank in 2012. Shin and Lee had borrowed a collective credit loan of 26 billion won with joint liability from Shinhan Bank, but Shin alone ended up being accountable for failing to pay back the loan as the bank removed Lee’s name as joint guarantors off the documental papers. She claimed that when Shin took the issue to the prosecution, the case was boggled by police and prosecutors.

Lee was able to borrow 140 billion won from the KDB after he was exempted from obligation over the 26 billion won he and Shin borrowed from Shinhan Bank. Shin maintained that she had never agreed to exempting him from the joint guarantee. She claimed the papers stored at the bank were not drawn up by her, while the bank claimed that they were written up on her behalf upon her agreement. How a loan amounting to millions of dollars can be written up by a bank staff raises questions.

The names of the lawmaker and former Blue House staff appear amid the prosecution’s investigation of the case and the bank’s seizure over Shin’s assets. In taped records, Rep. Jung and Yoon promised things would be settled. Yang, the head of the Institute for Democracy, even told Shin in a text message that it would be better to discuss the case later as a new Financial Supervisory Service chief would be named soon.

The names on the suspicion list vehemently deny any wrongdoing. The prosecution must investigate the case thoroughly.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 12, Page 34
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