AhnLab, Korea's top computer anti-virus program maker, never provided its V3 product to North Korea, a spokesman for the company's founder Ahn Cheol-soo said Thursday.
Yoo Min-young told Yonhap News Agency that allegations raised by the Free Youth Coalition, a conservative civic group, have already been clarified.
Ahn, an entrepreneur-turned-professor who is thought to have presidential ambitions, no longer runs the company but is its founder and was president at the time of the alleged transfer. The current dean of the Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology at Seoul National University has come under close scrutiny recently, particularly from conservative groups, as it is believed he could become the opposition camp's candidate for the presidential election slated for Dec. 19.
The coalition claimed earlier this year that the V3 anti-virus program, including critical source codes, was given to Pyongyang in April 2004 without approval from the Ministry of Unification and the National Intelligence Service. Such a move could be illegal as Seoul prohibits the transfer of sensitive products and could translate into a security risk for the country's domestic computer networks that mostly use the V3 to guard against hacking and computer viruses.
The spokesman was responding to a question from the ruling Saenuri Party's supreme council earlier Thursday, when it asked if AhnLab gave the V3 anti-virus program to North Korea before the communist country made a request or after.
"There is no need to elaborate on the transfer, because contrary to what some people think, the V3 was never sent to North Korea," Ahn's lawyer Keum Tae-sup said.
He said Ahn sent a press release on July 17 clarifying all allegations raised.
Company sources, however, said some 10 years ago, there was debate about sending the anti-virus product to the North to reflect the spirit of reconciliation that existed between the two Koreas at the time.
State prosecutors said they are looking into the matter, although it will be hard to take any kind of legal action as the statute of limitations has passed. (Yonhap)