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Probe Expanded into 3 Former Roh Aides

Posted November. 24, 2008 03:10,   


A man who is the high school alumnus of former President Roh Moo-hyun, Chung Hwa-sam, faces charges of receiving a large sum of money from the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation`s acquisition of the finance leasing company Sejong Securities.

Attention is now on three close associates of former President Roh -- Chung, Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha and Changsin Textile Chairman Kang Keum-won.

Chung is a year younger than Roh but they both graduated in the same high school class. When Chung was a managing director at a golf ball manufacturer, he was secretly videotaped receiving lavish entertainment with Yang Gil-seung, Roh`s former personal secretary, at a nightclub in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, in July 2003. In early 2004, Chung was the target of an independent probe into the case.

When the "Sea Story" adult gaming scandal broke out in August 2006, Chung was criticized for operating a gambling arcade for adults under the name of his mother in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. As president of Zephyros Golf Club in Jeju Island since 2005, he also came under scrutiny after a major stakeholder of the club was indicted for tax evasion.

Park is the most intriguing of the three former aides. He is reported to have earned 10 billion won (6.6 million U.S. dollars) through borrowed-name transactions of Sejong Securities shares. Roh`s brother had introduced Park to the president.

In 2004, Park was fined for giving illegal political funds of 700 million won (466,061 dollars) to Ahn Hee-jeong, a close aide to Roh. Park is now on trial at an appeals court for drunken misconduct on a plane headed for Seoul last year.

Kang is a long-time friend and golf buddy of Roh. The former president recently officiated the wedding ceremony of Kang`s son at a golf course owned by Kang.

In November 2004, the Supreme Court sentenced Kang to three years in prison for embezzling five billion won (3.2 million dollars) of corporate funds and evading 1.35 billion won (898,832 dollars) in taxes. He was pardoned, however, after serving just six months.