The independent council said yesterday that the government of former president Kim Dae-jung secretly paid $100 million to North Korea so that it would host the June 2000 North-South summit. Another $400 million was paid to Pyongyang right before the summit by the Hyundai Group for
exclusive rights to slave labor business rights in the North, the council also explained. According to the Times:
The government of then President Kim Dae-jung promised to add $100 million the sum promised by Hyundai during the secret contacts that were held to arrange for the summit in early 2000.The council also said that Kim Dae-jung knew of the transfers, but did not investigate him because there was no clear evidence that he was involved in illegal acts.
Then Culture Minister Park Jie-won, who made the pledge as President Kim's envoy to the clandestine meetings, later asked Chung Mong-hun, the chairman of Hyundai Asan, to pay the $100 million on behalf of the government.
Park later exercised his influence to push a state-run bank to extend loans to Hyundai affiliates after Chung said it would be difficult for them to raise sufficient funds for the deal, according to the counsel.
"The $100 million underwritten by the government may have been characterized as a fund necessary for (the government's) North Korea policy," Independent Counsel Song Doo-hwan told reporters.
"But it cannot be denied the money was linked to the summit because all the cash was remitted to the North immediately before the summit without seeking the public's understanding."
The council had requested an additional 30 days to investigate, but that request was denied by President Noh. The Grand National Party has responded to the denial by drawing up a bill to appoint a second independent council to continue the investigation.