Ex-PM’s sister takes stand but refuses to testify

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Ex-PM’s sister takes stand but refuses to testify

After turning down two earlier requests, a younger sister of former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook took the witness stand yesterday but refused to testify against her sister in a bribery trial.

Han, the former prime minister who was a symbol of integrity in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, has been accused of receiving 900 million won ($748,752) in bribes from a former construction company owner in 2007.

Han’s younger sister, whose name was not identified at the trial, was suspected of using 100 million won of the money to pay rent on an apartment, and the prosecution called her as a witness in the trial.

A solemn-faced younger Han appeared at the Seoul Central District Court yesterday morning. As soon as she took the witness stand, she said the trial was inappropriate and refused to answer questions.

The prosecution asked the court to compel the witness to testify, but the judge allowed Han to remain silent because her testimony could be used against her and her sister.

Han refused two earlier requests, and incurred two punitive fines. The court issued a subpoena to compel her to testify at yesterday’s session, and she made a voluntary appearance.

Ahead of the session yesterday, the court canceled the first 3 million won fine because Han voluntarily came to the courtroom yesterday. She was ordered to pay the second fine of 3 million won.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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