Opposition fires a salvo

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Opposition fires a salvo

In a partisan tit-for-tat, the opposition Grand National Party on Tuesday made allegations linking the Blue House and Pass 21, a start-up that was founded by a man recently indicted on charges of murdering his wife in 1987.

Separate from the murder charge, the man, Yoon Tae-shik, is suspected of embezzling money from Pass 21 and manipulating stock prices. Some critics have alleged that he bribed influential politicians and officials of the National Intelligence Service, who helped him alter stock prices and avoid the scrutiny of financial oversight agencies.

The opposition party was accused by the governing Millennium Democratic Party last week of helping Mr. Yoon's firm.

Members of the opposition on Tuesday displayed several pictures of President Kim Dae-jung with Mr. Yoon as well as a press release found on the Pass 21 Web site (www.pass21.co.kr).

"President Kim Dae-jung attended a presentation that Mr. Yoon and his company made on Jan. 24 last year at the POSCO Center in Seoul," Chang Kwang-keun, vice spokesman for the Grand National Party, said.

"Mr. Yoon was also invited to the reception dinner for the president of Nicaragua at the Blue House on May 15 last year," Mr. Chang said, adding that Mr. Yoon accompanied President Kim to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Brunei last year.

"The pictures of Mr. Yoon and President Kim shaking hands at the Blue House dinner are still posted on the company's homepage," Mr. Chang said. He said that several pictures of the presentation attended by the president and other political figures were deleted from the site after the bribery allegations against Mr. Yoon were made public.

The ruling party accused certain opposition legislators of colluding with Mr. Yoon based in part on the fact that some of them had attended Pass 21 presentations similar to the one where President Kim was photographed.

The Blue House denied the allegation of the president's involvement, adding that it was Mr. Yoon's brother who had demonstrated the company's fingerprint authentication technology to the president. However, a picture taken by the JoongAng Ilbo during the demonstration shows Yoon Tae-shik speaking face to face with President Kim.

Mr. Chang demanded that the National Intelligence Service be held responsible for letting Mr. Yoon meet with President Kim though the intelligence agency knew that Mr. Yoon was a murder suspect.

by Lee Soo-ho

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