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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former S. Korean President Paid for Peace -- Literally

SEOUL, South Korea -- Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's government secretly paid communist North Korea $100 million to get Pyongyang to agree to a historic summit in 2000 that helped Kim win the Nobel Peace Prize, an investigator said Wednesday.

Independent counsel Song Doo-hwan did not characterize the cash transfer as a payoff for the inter-Korean summit, but he said the government "aid" for communist North Korea was related to the meeting and had been sent secretly through improper channels.

Kim has admitted approving money transfers to North Korea despite "legal problems," but has said they were for the sake of peace and that his decision should not be subject to review.

Song had agreed not to consider whether the president himself was culpable. However, three of Kim's former aides have been arrested in the scandal.

Announcing the findings of a 70-day probe, Song said South Korea's Hyundai conglomerate sent $500 million to North Korea, but he called $400 million of that a company investment. The rest was sent by the government, via Hyundai, he said.

All of the money was sent to Pyongyang through Hyundai subsidiaries shortly before the June 2000 summit, Kim's crowning achievement that helped him win the peace prize, Song said.

Song accused Kim's government of "active involvement in the transfers of the money, keeping them secret from the people and failing to go through a justifiable procedure for sending the money. Thus we concluded that it cannot be denied that the money transfers were related to the summit."

The former president left office in February after a five-year tenure.