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Criminal Probe Into Ex-Pres. Roh Terminated

Posted June. 13, 2009 07:28,   


Bribery allegations surrounding the late former President Roh Moo-hyun will remain unanswered as prosecutors yesterday chose to end their investigation into the case.

Roh is alleged to have taken 6.4 million U.S. dollars from former Taekwang Industry Chairman Park Yeon-cha.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office cited no right of arraignment and also terminated their probe into Park on the charge of offering bribes to Roh.

A prosecutor said that if indictment is impossible due to the death of the suspect, it is customary for prosecutors to declare that they have no right to arraign him or her and to not prosecute the person who offered bribes. This is because a deceased defendant cannot appear in court to defend himself or herself.

Citing evidence supporting Park’s confession of giving bribes to Roh such as statements from related persons and data on wire transfers and money exchanges, however, prosecutors confirmed Roh’s charges in a roundabout way.

Investigation records of the probe, including statements Roh made to prosecutors April 30, will be kept permanently to allow future generations to judge the former president.

Prosecutorial investigation records are normally kept for five years but those deemed of significance are kept permanently. A prosecutor said, “Due to the death of former President Roh, the evidence on Roh’s allegation was not included in the final results of the investigation but the truth will be preserved along with the investigation records.”

Separately, prosecutors said 21 persons were arrested on charges of taking bribes from Park.

Seven of the 21 suspects are on trial: Roh’s former presidential secretary for general affairs Jung Sang-moon; former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs Park Jung-kyu; Rep. Lee Kwang-jae of the main opposition Democratic Party; former vice government administration minister Jang In-tae; former director of the Korea Maritime Institute Lee Jung-wook; former Gimhae Mayor Song Eun-bok; and former public relations secretary for President Lee Myung-bak, Choo Boo-kil.

Those indicted without detention include former National Assembly speakers Park Kwan-yong and Kim One-ki; ruling Grand National Party lawmakers Park Jin and Kim Jung-gwon; Democratic Party lawmakers Seo Kap-won and Choi Cheol-kuk; Sejoong Namo Tour CEO Chun Shin-il; former commissioner of the National Police Agency Lee Taek-soon; Deputy Seoul Mayor Lee Sang-cheol; and prosecutor at the Busan District Public Prosecutors’ Office Kim Jong-ro.

Cleared of charges were Ahn Hee-jung, a supreme council member of the Democratic Party; former Patriots and Veterans Affairs Minister Kim Jung-bok; President Lee`s senior secretary for civil affairs Lee Jong-chan; a senior prosecutor at the Busan prosecutors’ office; researcher Min Yoo-tae of the Legal Research & Training Institute; and Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Rah Eung-chan.

South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Tae-ho remains under investigation due to failure to question a witness who is said to have delivered money from Park Yeon-cha to the governor.