Reopen the Roh case carefully

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Reopen the Roh case carefully

Cho Hyun-oh, former commissioner of the National Police Agency, now faces interrogation by prosecutors for making a bombshell announcement in 2010 that former President Roh Moo-hyun took his own life because police linked a number of borrowed-name accounts to him. Cho has stood firm and said he will disclose exactly who owns these accounts and which banks hold them. The public may finally learn some of the truths behind Roh’s tragic death.

Roh jumped off a cliff behind his home in May 2009 while the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office was investigating his wife and close aides for taking bribes from Park Yeon-cha, former chairman of Taekwang Industrial. After the death, prosecutors dropped the case, saying they would no longer investigate and instead bury the details in a sealed archive.

But skeletons emerged once again when Cho claimed in August 2010 that the police discovered the borrowed-name accounts holding illegally obtained funds one day before President Roh killed himself. In response, Roh’s family and the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation filed a libel suit against Cho, and an investigation has been underway ever since.

We do not want another massive political scandal or social unrest to result because of the renewed spotlight on Roh’s death and the supposed borrowed-name accounts.

During their investigation, senior prosecutors fueled confusion with remarkably ambiguous comments. Lee In-kyu, director of the central investigation unit at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office who led the probe, said that Cho’s remarks could be justified if an unusual exchange of money was detected by investigators.

To avoid confusion, Cho must reveal exactly what he knows. Earlier, he said that he would not reveal the identity of the whistle-blower who tipped him off about the borrowed-name accounts. But such an attitude is dishonest, particularly considering the repercussions his actions have had on the nation’s political system and Roh’s family.

And if Cho is found to have made a groundless accusation, he must pay a very steep price. The prosecutors who have been putting off questioning Cho for nearly two years should take this opportunity to do their job correctly.

The Roh case has been irrevocably reopened, and authorities must deal with whatever problems arise from this reality. But at the same time, they must keep to guidelines so that no one can abuse the president’s unfortunate death for self-serving political purposes.

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