Ex-PM Han indicted for bribery one more time

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Ex-PM Han indicted for bribery one more time

Former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook was indicted yesterday on charges of receiving nearly a billion won in bribes from a former construction company owner.

Han, the former prime minister who was a symbol of integrity in the administration of former President Roh Moo-hyun, has been accused of receiving more than 974 million won ($806,679) in bribes from the businessman in 2007.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, which began a probe into the case earlier this year, obtained testimonies from Han Man-ho, former head of bankrupt firm Hansin Gunyoung, his driver and his accounting clerk that said the former prime minister received the bribes in cash, checks and U.S. dollars in March, April and August 2007. He said he made the bribes to win state construction projects.

The former prime minister was invited by prosecutors twice for questioning. Insisting on her innocence, Han refused to be questioned.

The prosecution suspected that Han, after she left the prime minister post, used the money to operate the Democratic Party’s Goyang-Ilsan chapter office from March 2007. It also suspected she used the money for her presidential primary bid in 2007.

This is the second graft indictment against Han. She was indicted in December 2009 for accepting $50,000 in bribes from Kwak Young-wook, former CEO of Korea Express, but was acquitted in April after the Seoul Central District Court questioned the veracity of Kwak’s testimony during the trial. The prosecution has appealed the ruling. The Democratic Party has claimed the indictments are politically motivated.

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