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Public divided over who should direct the financial fraud scandal investigation: poll

Koreans are divided over which authority should take charge of the investigation into controversial fund scams, a poll showed Monday, following reports suggesting politicians and prosecutors may have been involved in the cases surrounding two asset management firms.

According to a Realmeter poll of 500 adults conducted last week, 43.6 percent of respondents said a special counsel probe should be launched for the probe, a measure that has been demanded by the main opposition People Power Party.

Some 38.9 percent of respondents said the case warrants an inquiry by the envisioned Corruption Investigation Office.

The new investigative agency, not yet launched, is designed by the ruling Democratic Party as an independent organization tasked with probing corruption of high-ranking government officials and their family members.

The fund scams involving Lime Asset Management and Optimus Asset Management turned into a major political storm after a key suspect claimed in written statements that he lobbied -- or bribed -- prosecutors and politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties before the launch of the investigation.

The suspect, former Star Mobility owner Kim Bong-hyun, was assumed to be the main financial source of Lime Asset, which together with Optimus Asset is under investigation for covering up massive investment losses and suspending fund redemptions for around 5,000 investors.

By Ko Jun-tae (