SKorean Prosecutors Question Son of Ex-President

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2009-04-12 16:36 Updated : 2009-04-12 16:36
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South Korean prosecutors questioned the son of former President Roh Moo-hyun on Sunday for his alleged involvement in a widening corruption scandal centering on his father, an official said.

Prosecutors were investigating whether Roh Gun-ho used parts of money that his father admitted to having received from a detained businessman, prosecution spokesman Cho Eun-suk said.
Roh Moo-hyun, who stepped down as president early last year, offered a public apology last week. He admitted his «house» took money from Park Yeon-cha, head of a local shoe manufacturer.

The scandal was a blow to former President Roh, a liberal politician who swept into office in 2003 amid a reform drive and a clean image.

South Korean media have reported that Park told investigators that he conveyed $1 million to Roh Moo-hyun's wife, Kwon Yang-sook, via his aide in 2007, and that he separately gave $5 million to help a relative of former president establish an investment firm in early 2008 in an unauthorized financial transaction.

Media reports also said Roh Gun-ho is a major shareholder in that investment firm and used parts of the $1 million for living expenses in the United States. The son returned to South Korea on Saturday night.

Several of Roh Moon-hyun's former aides and associates are also being investigated for allegedly taking illicit money from Park, who has been detained since being indicted on separate bribery and tax evasion charges in December.

Roh Moo-hyun's elder brother was indicted for bribery in December, accused of accepting money to help a securities firm sell assets to a state-supervised bank.

Corruption has remained endemic in South Korean politics, where businessmen have often passed money to presidential aides, associates and leading politicians in return for favors.
Roh Moo-hyun said he would accept and cooperate in an investigation amid media reports that prosecutors plan to summon the former president and his wife as early this week. Prosecution spokesman Cho said his prosecutors haven't determined whether and when to summon them.