SEOUL, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Debate was raging in Seoul Tuesday over whether some 274 illegal wiretap tapes that shook big business and government should be made public.
The scandal has led to the resignation of South Korean Ambassador to Washington Hong Seok Hyun and tainted the image of Samsung, South Korea's leading electronics conglomerate.
The wiretapping took place in the 1990s, by Kong Un Young, a former espionage agent, who headed an illegal eavesdropping operation in the 1990s.
Among the evidence made public so far from just one tape, in a conversation between Lee Hak Soo, a top Samsung executive, and Hong, an in-law of Samsung's chairman, Lee Kun Hee. Hong was then president of a Samsung-affiliated daily newspaper. In the conversation, the two discussed giving as much as nearly $3 million in Samsung money to candidates for the December 1997 presidential election, the International Herald Tribune said.
Prosecutors said they will not make the tapes public because of privacy laws, but rights groups raised fears of a whitewashed investigation and called for the appointment of an independent counsel.