Prosecution Warns Of Widened Probe

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Prosecution Warns Of Widened Probe

The prosecution in the case of the alleged funneling of funds from the National Security Planning Agency into the then-ruling New Korea Party in 1996 said Friday that even if the National Assembly rejects its request to arrest Rep. Kang Sam-jae, it may still investigate high officials, including former president Kim Young-sam and his son, Hyun-chul.

A prosecution official said that, among others, Kwon Young-hae, former director of intelligence, and Lee Won-jong, former Blue House secretary for political affairs, may also be investigated. Both Mr. Kwon and Mr. Lee served in the Kim Young-sam administration.

Another prosecution official said that "there isn't even an iota of doubt" that the funds for the 1996 general election came from the state intelligence agency.

Mr. Kang, then the New Korea Party's secretary-general, handled day-to-day details of the party's campaign in the voting. Related articles, Page 2.

Speaking under condition of anonymity, the prosecution official said that the money came from the national budget allocated to the agency in 1995 and that the prosecution obtained documents stating that the checks were issued by the Bank of Korea.

The central bank issues checks to be used to administer the national budget.

The official added that the opposition Grand National Party's assertion that the money was part of President Kim Young-sam's political funds is political wordplay and that the prosecution has not been able to find such funds while tracing bank accounts related to the New Korea Party and its officials.

The New Korea Party is the predecessor of the Grand National Party.

While the opposition demands an investigation into what it describes as President Kim Dae-jung's slush funds and illegal accumulation of wealth, the prosecution contends that the two issues are fundamentally different.

The prosecution said the current investigation is aimed at finding out whether and how tax money was embezzled and not at waging an offensive against a particular political group.

by Shin Dong-jae

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