Pardon eyed for President Roh’s brother, advisor

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Pardon eyed for President Roh’s brother, advisor

President Lee Myung-bak will grant a special pardon to Roh Geon-pyeong, the older brother of former President Roh Moo-hyun, a senior ranking official in the ruling Grand National Party told JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.

Roh Geon-pyeong, 68, is in jail after he was sentenced to a prison term of two years and six months and a 300 million won ($253,271) fine in January on charges of accepting bribes to influence Nonghyup’s 2006 takeover of Sejong Securities.

“The purpose of President Lee’s special pardon on the Aug. 15 Liberation Day is to integrate society and unite the public,” said a senior GNP official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I’m aware that the Blue House decided to grant a special pardon to Mr. Roh as a symbol of uniting the divided nation.”

JoongAng Ilbo confirmed Roh recently paid the 300 million won fine to the court.

“Some [in the past] remained lukewarm toward releasing Mr. Roh with a special pardon because he didn’t pay the fines,” the official said. “Now the chances are more likely that Mr. Roh will be given a special pardon since he paid the fine.”

The official went on to say President Lee’s gesture is to attempt a reconciliation with the allies and family of the late President Roh, who committed suicide in May 2009 during an investigation by prosecutors into graft allegations involving his family and aides. Roh’s followers blamed the Lee administration for driving the former president to suicide.

The special amnesty is in conjunction with the Liberation Day holiday on Aug. 15, which celebrates the end of Japanese colonial rule in Korea. The head of the state can authorize special pardons for political prisoners, politicians and business executives in the name of achieving national reconciliation.

The Blue House also is considering reducing the prison term of Park Jeong-gyu, who served as presidential secretary for civil affairs in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the official said.

Park was handed a three year and six month jail sentence and a fine of 94 million won in April 2009 on charges of taking 94 million won in department store gift certificates from Park Yeon-cha, the former head of the Taekwang Industrial.

By Lee Chu-jae []

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