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Friday, January 30, 2004

(Family and kin) Brother's wife's brother (sadonjigan)

This is not supposed to be any special indictment of the current president of ROK, only an example of how things usually work in Korea, from government to government. President Roh's older brother's brother-in-law (sister's husband, ch'ônam) has been able to gather 65 billion won (43 mil. €) for his investment company Seedmon before the company was even officially registered anywhere.

This Mr. Min told himself of the matter in an interview in the Sisa Journal weekly (part of the article viewable), and Chosun Ilbo not surprisingly picked the story. Min told that he founded an investment company with 1.5 billion W with the purpose of getting 10 billion, but he got 65 billion in two months. "We got 7 billion in just last week. So much money is coming in I'm getting worried," Min told in Sisa Journal.

The problem is that the company should have been registered as an "investment consultation company" (t'ujajamunhoesa) at the Financial Supervisory Service (금융감독원); neither is there any other registration of Seedmon. FSS has begun investing the case. Min has been operating a small hospital, and he has been suspected of having received a special favor loan for the hospital last year. At the moment the hospital is under provisional seizure of the creditors.

What is "modern" in this case is the venture aspect of this case, the promise of big money in a pench'ô with a presidential connection, not the use of a connection (real or imagined) to the highest executive power in the nation. Neither does this case make president Roh corrupted, only that it lays bare the structure of the Korean system; connections, especially family ones, to the president are expected to bear fruit and bring favors.

(Didn't see anything in Hankyoreh first, but they do have a editorial on Jan 30. Also it calls for more thorough "family control" [ch'ininch'ôk kwalli], meaning that the head figure, in this case the president, should be able to know and control what family and kin members around him are up to.)

When Kim Dae-jung's sons were being picked up by prosecutors, Ohmynews wrote about what had happened once at the Blue House. On a dinner, someone close to KDJ had discretely told the president that he should see what his sons are up to, or otherwise they'll be in big trouble. To that, president's wife had become enraged and told the man never ever come there again to talk like that.

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