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Ex-Pres. Roh MH Denies Bribery Charges

Updated May. 01, 2009 07:23

한국어

Former President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday denied involvement in a bribery scandal to prosecutors.

The Supreme Prosecutor`s Office asked Roh if he received six million U.S. dollars from Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha in return for business favors on a deal to build a thermal power plant in Vietnam.

Prosecutors quoted Roh as saying it is not wrong to support overseas projects by Korean businessmen.

They also used Park’s statement to press Roh. Park had earlier told investigators, “Following Roh’s orders, I sent one million dollars in June 2007 and five million dollars in February last year.”

Roh, however, said, “I didn’t know while in office that one million dollars was transferred to my wife (Kwon Yang-sook) and another five million dollars was sent to my nephew-in-law.”

After analyzing data on foreign currency remittance related to his son Roh Gun-ho as suggested by the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit, prosecutors said they found evidence that Kwon sent 100,000 dollars to her son in 2007. That sum is believed to have come from the one million dollars Park sent to Roh.

Roh also denied helping Park in return for Piaget luxury watches worth around 100 million won (77,519 dollars), which Roh received for his 60th birthday in September 2006.

The former president also said he was unaware that his former secretary Jung Sang-moon embezzled 1.25 billion won (968,992 dollars) from 2005 to July 2007.

Prosecutors, however, apparently believe Roh received six million dollars from Park in return for his support for Park’s business interests, and will decide whether to seek an arrest warrant for Roh on bribery charges around Wednesday.

Before leaving his residence in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, at 8 a.m. yesterday, Roh said, “I feel ashamed. I apologize for disappointing you.”

After arriving at the Supreme Prosecutor`s Office in southern Seoul around 1:20 p.m., he said, “I feel ashamed” to journalists in front of the building.

He got on a limousine bus provided by Cheong Wa Dae’s Presidential Security Service for his journey to Seoul along with his confidants, including his former chief of staff Moon Jae-in.