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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Seoul Puts Off Fund Probe Until After Poll

SEOUL, South Korea -- On Tuesday South Korea's prosecutor general said any probe into opposition leader Kim Dae-jung's alleged slush fund would be delayed at least until after the Dec. 18 presidential elections.

The announcement was a rebuff to the ruling New Korea Party, which filed a complaint last Thursday demanding a probe into its claims that Kim had amassed millions of dollars in slush funds and stashed it in relatives' accounts.

"We have come to this decision, as we concluded that an investigation two months ahead of presidential elections would cause a severe split in public opinion, difficulties for the economy to revive, and chaos in the country," Prosecutor General Kim Tae-joung told a news conference.

Investors had been worried that a probe into Kim's funding activities would increase political instability ahead of the elections.

While some political analysts said the prosecutor's office had no choice but to delay the probe, others criticized the decision as being selective.

Just last week, President Kim Young-sam's son was jailed on corruption charges.

The ruling party said it regretted Tuesday's decision, saying it meant prosecutors had no intention of probing the case.

But Kim Dae-jung's National Congress said the decision "showed the New Korea Party's complaint was a fabrication for political attacks" to make up for the sagging popularity of its presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang.