A Chorus of Lies in the Shin-gate Invetsigation

      September 27, 2007 11:15

      A common trait among the suspects implicated in the Shin Jeong-ah investigation is the fact that they all keep lying until they are confronted with irrefutable evidence linking them to some wrongdoing. Psychiatrists have even diagnosed Shin as possibly suffering from a mental disorder that makes her believe her lies to be true. Former chief presidential secretary for national policy Byeon Yang-kyun will also be remembered for his remark that he had done nothing wrong during his 30 years of civil service.

      The Ven. Youngbae, chairman of the board at Dongguk University, said he had personally verified the authenticity of Shin’s academic credentials and said he would take all the responsibility if they were found to be bogus, according to the minutes of the university’s board meeting on May 28. And ever since Shin’s credentials were proven to have been fakes, Youngbae has made no gestures whatsoever to take responsibility. Former Dongguk University president Hong Ki-sam wrote in a letter addressed to Dongguk Families on Jul. 20 that there was no unethical or underhanded conduct during the hiring of Shin as an assistant professor. Yet during questioning by prosecutors, Hong acknowledged that Shin had indeed been “recommended” by Byeon.

      Korea Development Bank governor Kim Chang-rok, who went to the same high school as Byeon’s, said he never let school ties influence business, even though he provided W70 million (US$1=W921) in financial support to art exhibitions organized by Shin on four occasions. During his tenure as president of Daewoo Engineering and Construction, the incumbent Korea National Housing Corp. president Park Se-heum provided W290 million in sponsorship to Shin’s exhibitions on seven occasions. Yet until he was confronted with hard evidence, Park said he had no knowledge of such a deal and that his staff probably handled the matter on their own. Yet Daewoo’s internal regulations stipulate that any donation exceeding W10 million needs the approval of the president.

      In the Shin-gate investigation, the people who have been found to have lied are not common criminals but high-ranking officials in academia, a major religious group, the business community and the government. It was the presidential office that started off a relay of lies by saying the original suspicions were “not newsworthy.” Nor did it stop there: it even threatened on several occasions to file lawsuits against the news media.

      In the end, the Shin-gate investigation shed light on the fact that everything had been a chorus of lies by the Roh administration, high-ranking government officials, the head of Dongguk University’s board and by the university’s president. The fact that such unethical people are serving in such high places demonstrates just how bad things must be lower down in the rungs of power.
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