Fraternal responsibility

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Fraternal responsibility

Former President Roh Moo-hyun’s elder brother Geon-pyeong was arrested yesterday for illegally influencing Nonghyup’s acquisition of Sejong Securities and receiving bribes in return.

“There is reasonable evidence that supports the suspicions that the crime has been committed and there is a possibility that he may flee or destroy evidence,” the court said when issuing the arrest warrant.

Geon-pyeong also said he “admits to some of the charges and feels sorry for the public.” Yet former President Roh, in a speech yesterday from his hometown, said he has no plan to apologize to the public. We view Roh’s stance, given his significance as a former president, as grossly inappropriate.

“There are certain duties [expected of me] as former president, but I also have certain obligations as a brother,” he said when revealing his intention not to offer a public apology. Roh, through his online Web forum, has repeatedly expressed discomfort over the prosecutors’ investigations into his elder brother and his acquaintances, saying “the agencies are trying to eviscerate my close acquaintances.”

He not only tried to belittle the judicial operations of the nation’s prosecutors as politically motivated moves, but also spread rumors among the public that the government is politically oppressing him.

Since the whole world now knows that the former president’s brother was not manipulated, but instead played a key role in this crime, it is no time for Roh to avoid the inevitable apology. Regardless of the result of the upcoming court rulings, Roh should feel ashamed of his brother’s actions and offer a sincere apology to the public for the latest scandal.

As a president who passionately campaigned for political morality and transparency for five years, Roh may feel a sense of personal regret over the latest scandal. But he should not forget that he himself enabled his brother to exert such influence in the Sejong Securities deal.

Roh should repent for having failed to monitor his acquaintances and prevent them from abusing their power. Corruption by former presidents’ family members has routinely made headlines here after nearly every administrative change.

We believe in stronger legal measures to prevent such corruption from continually taking place. History has shown us that the greedy always drool over opportunities to take advantage of power by standing near the powerful person.
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