Ex-Roh prosecutor to testify at Cho hearings

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Ex-Roh prosecutor to testify at Cho hearings

The fate of National Police Agency Commissioner-designate Cho Hyun-oh entered a new phase. A former senior prosecutor who investigated former President Roh Moo-hyun’s family’s bribery scandal says he will testify next week at Cho’s confirmation hearings regarding Cho’s controversial remarks.

Lee In-kyu, a former chief of the Central Investigation Department at the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office who headed the Roh investigation, said in a phone interview with the JoongAng Ilbo on Tuesday that he will “truthfully answer lawmakers’ questions at the hearing and won’t lie.”

“The National Assembly wants me to be there, and what else I can do. I’ll be there,” Lee said. “You will find out what I’ll say at the hearing.”

Cho is under fire for remarks he made in March. He quickly became a target of resentment by Roh family members and supporters after KBS on Friday reported that Cho said during a lecture that Roh committed suicide because he found a large sum of slush funds in “borrowed-name” accounts.

While prosecutors on Sunday flatly denied the comments made by Cho about slush funds, Lee, the former prosecutor, refused to deny or confirm Cho’s statement.

Political observers will pay close attention to Lee’s testimony at the hearing to see whether it could dispel Cho’s remarks or spark a fresh round of debate.

The late president jumped off a cliff in his hometown in May of last year amid an investigation into a bribery scandal.

Meanwhile, Roh Moo-hyun Foundation officials and Roh’s family members yesterday submitted a defamation complaint against Cho at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

Moon Jae-in, former chief of staff during the Roh administration, is in charge of the defamation case.

“Cho’s remarks are outrageous,” Moon said. “If he can’t present evidence to prove his remarks, he must take criminal liability.”

And bereaved family members of the sailors who died in the Cheonan warship attack in March said they will meet Cho at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Friday. Cho upset Cheonan family survivors after he was reported to have described grieving family members as animals during the same March police lecture.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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