The Korean Central Intelligence Agency delivered $3,000 in cash to the chief aide of Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1976, according to congressional testimony yesterday.
It was the first evidence that an official of the Unification Church received money from the KCIA. The House international organizations subcommittee has been investigating alleged ties between the church and the Korean government.
Bo Hi Pak, interpreter for the Korean evangelist, acknowledged during a hearing yesterday that he had received the money in $100 bills from Sang Keun Kim, a KCIA agent who sought asylum in the United States in late 1976.
But he said he took the cash only as a favor to Yang Doo Won, a high-ranking KCIA official in Seoul.
Pak said that on a later trip to Korea, he passed the money on to a member of the Unification Church from Japan. The Korean government wanted to reimburse the woman for expense incurred on an anti-communist speaking tour in Korea, he said.
Pak could not explain why the KCIA, rather than another government agency, would handle the reimbursement.
Subcommittee sources said later that they did not find Pak's explanation convincing.
Meanwhile, accused Korean agent Tongsun Park appeared for the first time before a federal grand injury in Washington yesterday.
His questioning focused on his relations with former Rep. Otto E. Passman (D-La.), sources said. This raises the possibility that the Justice Department is near a decision on seeking an indictment against the long-time chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee with control of the foreign aid budget.
Park is reported to have told prosecutors that he gave Passman more than $200,000 over the years to obtain his support for increased shipments of food for Peace rice to South Korea. Passman has denied the allegations.
Park received about $9 million in commissions on rice sales from 1970 to 1975.
Pak's appearance before the House subcommittee yesterday was forced under a federal court order, according to Rep. Edward Derwinski (R-Ill.) the ranking minority member of the subcommittee.
Pak, 47, had cited First and Fifth Amendment protections in refusing an earlier subcommittee attempt to gain his testimony. But a U.S. District Court judge recently signed a "use immunity" order, which forces testimony, sources said.
His appearance opened with the reading of a 50-page statement criticising the subcommittee and press for maligning the church. He closed by reciting The Lord's Prayer. His entire testimony was recorded on video and audio tape for the Unification Church.
The articulate 47-year-old former Korean army colonel said he regretted accepting the money from the KCIA because he feared his explanation might be distorted.
Pak said he presumed the money and a six-page handwritten letter from Yang, who earlier had been the KCIA station chief in Washington, came into the United States through the embassy's diplomatic pouch.
He said it was the only occasion on which he took money from the KCIA. Earlier in the day he had sworn that "not a penny came from the Korean government and not one direction" during the mid-1960s when he worked without salary for the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation.
That Washington-based tax-exempt corporation raised millions of dollars over the years for anti-communist radio broadcasts from Seoul.
During the hearing yesterday, Rep. Donald M. Fraser (D-Minn.), the subcommittee chairman, questioned Pak about severl indications of connections between the Korean government and Moon-church-related people and organizations. He appeared to be establishing a record for a possible perjury referral.
Pak made these points in his answers:
He denied taking part in or knowing about meetings in the Korean Blue House, the presidential mansion, in the fall of 1970 where U.S. intelligence reports said his name was mentioned as part of a government sponsored lobbying effort in the United States.
He acknowledged approaching President Park Chung Hee in the fall of 1970, though, to urge that he send a letter to American contributors to Radio of Free Asia, which sponsored anti-communist broadcasts.
He furnished the committee with a letter from Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) which said the State Department had no objection to the Korean president's letter. A Thurmond aide said yesterday the senator had no recollection of either Park or the letter.
He met Tongsun Park through former Korean ambassador Yang You Chan and asked Park to join the KCFF board in hopes "maybe we could squeeze some money out of him." Park never contributed to the group's projects, however, he said.
He explained a $100 gift in 1968 from KCFF to a key aide to the Blue House security chief as "a reality of life" in Korea. "It helps to have a friend in government," he said.
The subcommittee will resume questioning Pak on April 11, after the Easter recess.