Tongsun Park (born 1935 in Sunch'ŏn, Korea) is a former South Korean lobbyist. He was involved in two political money-related scandals: Koreagate scandal in the 1970s, and the Oil-for-Food Program scandal of the 2000s. Park had a reputation as the "Asian Great Gatsby".
In 1976, Park was charged with bribing members of the U.S. Congress, using money from the South Korean government, in a successful effort to convince the United States government to keep United States troops in South Korea. In 1977, he was indicted by a U.S. District Court on thirty-six counts, including bribery, illegal campaign contributions, mail fraud, racketeering, and failure to register as an agent of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He avoided a federal trial by testifying to the court in exchange for immunity. His testimony did not have a major impact, though it led to three members of Congress getting reprimanded, and may have convinced Speaker of the House Carl Albert not to seek re-election. One of the implicated former representatives, Otto Passman of Louisiana's 5th congressional district based about Monroe, was charged with conspiracy, bribery, acceptance of an illegal gratuity, and income tax evasion. When his trial was moved from Washington, D.C., to Monroe, Passman was quickly acquitted.Explained William G. Hundley, a former organized crime investigator for the U.S. Senate who attended the Passman trial:
I went there for the trial, and I'd go into restaurants with Park, and people would get up and leave. ... I thought the prosecution presented a pretty good case. But when the defense attorney, Camille Gravel, got up to cross-examine Tongsun Park, he carried a big map of Korea. He didn't even touch the merits of the case. He identified South Korea and noted that it's right under North Korea and next to China. Then he pointed out that North Korea and China are totalitarian communist states. The jury was out less than ninety minutes, and they acquitted Passman on every charge.
In 1992, Park was approached by Samir Vincent, an Iraqi-born American who was lobbying unofficially on behalf of the Saddam Hussein regime, to try to create a program that would bypass the United Nations-approved economic sanctions of Iraq that had started in 1991. Park agreed, requesting a payment of US$10 million for his effort, to which Vincent agreed. Park served as a liaison between Vincent and then-United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, with whom Park was friendly. In late 1996, partly as a result of Park's lobbying efforts, the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program began. After 1997, when Kofi Annan became the new secretary-general, the government of Iraq dropped its ties with Park; by then Park had received about US$2 million in payments.
In 2005 Park was accused of acting as an intermediary with corrupt United Nations officials in the oil-for-food conspiracy orchestrated by Saddam Hussein. His name surfaced as part of investigations into the oil-for-food scandal. In July 2006 he was convicted in a U.S. federal court on conspiracy charges.He became the first person convicted through the oil-for-food investigation. On February 22, 2007, he was sentenced to five years in prison. He also was fined $15,000 and required to forfeit $1,200,000. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Web site, he was released from prison on September 10, 2008. The next day, he left the United States for South Korea.
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In 1966, he founded The Georgetown Club at 1530 Wisconsin Ave NW. He was known for throwing parties in his social club which is now turned into a private restaurant.By the 1970s, his wealth of expensive homes, worldwide jet travel and a consulting firm (Parkington International Inc.) grew his influence among his connections and friends.
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was an Iraqi politician who served as the fifth President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to power in Iraq.
The Oil-for-Food Programme (OIP), established by the United Nations in 1995 was established to allow Iraq to sell oil on the world market in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian needs for ordinary Iraqi citizens without allowing Iraq to boost its military capabilities.
Robert Linlithgow Livingston Jr. is an American lobbyist and politician who served as a U.S. Representative from Louisiana from 1977 to 1999. A Republican, he was chosen as Newt Gingrich's successor as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he declined following revelations of an extramarital affair. He served as a U.S. Representative from Louisiana from 1977 to 1999 and as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee from 1995 to 1999. During his final years in congress, Livingston was a strong supporter of Bill Clinton's impeachment. He is currently a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist. Livingston's memoir, The Windmill Chaser: Triumphs and Less in American Politics, was published in September 2018.
Claudia Rosett is an American writer and journalist. A former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, she writes a foreign affairs column for Forbes, blogs for Pajamas Media, makes guest appearances on television and radio, and is attached to the Independent Women’s Forum and the London Centre for Policy Research. Her recent work has focussed on North Korea, Iran, the United Nations and, with emphasis on merchant vessel tracking, methods of sanctions evasion.
The sanctions against Iraq were a near-total financial and trade embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council on Ba'athist Iraq. They began August 6, 1990, four days after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, stayed largely in force until May 22, 2003, and persisted in part, including reparations to Kuwait, through the present. The original stated purposes of the sanctions were to compel Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, to pay reparations, and to disclose and eliminate any weapons of mass destruction.
"Koreagate" was an American political scandal in 1976 involving South Korean political figures seeking influence from 10 Democratic members of Congress. An immediate goal of the scandal seems to have been reversing President Richard Nixon's decision to withdraw troops from South Korea. It involved the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) allegedly funneling bribes and favors through Korean businessman Tongsun Park in an attempt to gain favor and influence for South Korean objectives. Park fled the United States and the South Korean government refused to send him back unless he received immunity. Immunity was refused and Park remained in Korea. In the end, two members of Congress were charged with crimes: Representative Richard T. Hanna of California and Representative Otto E. Passman of Louisiana. Passman was acquitted after a trial. Hanna pled guilty and served one year in prison. Three other congressmen were reprimanded by the House.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is a United States law passed in 1938 requiring that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a "political or quasi-political capacity" disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate "evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons." The law is administered by the FARA Unit of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) of the United States Department of Justice. As of 2007 the Justice Department reported there were approximately 1,700 lobbyists representing more than 100 countries before Congress, the White House and the federal government.
Philip Bloom is an American businessman who pleaded guilty on April 18, 2006 to conspiracy, bribery and money laundering in connection with a scheme to defraud the Coalition Provisional Authority – South Central Region (CPA-SC) during the occupation of Iraq. According to the Sydney Morning Herald Bloom used CPA funds to pay out over $2 million USD in bribes, in cash, real estate, designer cars, watches, and the services of prostitutes he brought to Bagdad. Bloom accepted at least $1 million in bribes and stole a further $600,000 in cash and goods from CPA funds.
Kevin A. Ring is a former American attorney and congressional staffer; he served Republicans in both the House and the Senate, including U.S. Representative John T. Doolittle (R-CA). He also served as a counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee's Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights Subcommittee.
Thomas Jerald Huckaby, usually known as Jerry Huckaby, is a retired American businessman and politician who served from 1977 to 1993 as a Democratic U.S. Representative from Louisiana's 5th congressional district. At the time, it covered mostly the northeastern quadrant of the state. He lost his position as an indirect result of reapportionment in 1992: Louisiana lost one of its eight seats in the United States House of Representatives because the state had less growth in population than other states.
The presidency of Ronald Reagan in the United States was marked by numerous scandals, resulting in the investigation, indictment, or conviction of over 138 administration officials, the largest number for any president in American history.
Gifts of Deceit: Sun Myung Moon, Tongsun Park, and the Korean Scandal is a 1980 non-fiction book on Koreagate and the Fraser Committee, a congressional subcommittee which investigated South Korean influence in the United States by the KCIA and the Unification movement, written by Robert Boettcher, with Gordon L. Freedman. Freedman had served on the US Senate Watergate Committee staff and had been a producer for ABC News 20/20 prior to his service on the subcommittee.
Richard Thomas Hanna was a U.S. Representative from California. He became involved in a scandal dubbed Koreagate by accepting bribes from a businessman working for the South Korean government. He was found guilty, resigned his seat, and served 6 to 30 months in prison.
Oscar Sherman Wyatt, Jr. is an American businessman and self made millionaire. He was the founder of Coastal Corporation and a decorated bomber pilot in World War II. In 2007 the U.S. federal court in Manhattan tried him for illegally sending payments to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food Program.
The Oil-for-Food Program Hearings were held by the U.S Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations beginning in 2004 to investigate abuses of the United Nations (UN) Oil-for-Food Programme in which the economically sanctioned country of Iraq was intended to be able to sell limited amounts of oil in exchange for vital food and medicine for its population.
James F. Hirni is a lobbyist who was convicted of bribing U.S. Senate staff aides in exchange for favorable amendments to legislation. A former aide to U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), he joined the lobbying firm Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, and then became a member of "Team Abramoff" at Greenberg Traurig. He went on to become a lobbyist for Wal-Mart from 2004–08, as its Executive Director of Republican outreach. He was fired when charges were filed concerning his activities with Abramoff.
Samir Vincent also known as Samir Ambrose Vincent is an ethnic Assyrian Iraqi American that pleaded guilty in January 2005 to being an illegal agent for Saddam Hussein's government and helping to skim money from the Oil-for-Food Programme which earned him millions of dollars in the process.
The AWB oil-for-wheat scandal refers to the payment of kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein in contravention of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Humanitarian Program. AWB Limited is a major grain marketing organisation based in Australia. For much of the 20th and early 21st century, it was an Australian Government entity operating a single desk regime over Australian wheat, meaning it alone could export Australian wheat, which it paid a single price for. In the mid-2000s, it was found to have been, through middlemen, paying kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein, in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts. This was in direct contradiction of United Nations Sanctions, and of Australian law.
This article provides a list of political scandals that involve officials from the government or politicians of South Korea.
Otto Ernest Passman was an American politician who served in the United States House of Representatives for Louisiana's 5th congressional district from 1947 until 1977. As a Congressman, Passman chaired the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Aid where he was a well-known opponent of foreign aid spending.