Ahn abandons prime minister appointment

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Ahn abandons prime minister appointment


Ahn Dae-hee

After being accused of making a fortune in five months after retiring from the Supreme Court and possibly breaching ethical standards, Ahn Dae-hee withdrew from his nomination as prime minister, striking a blow at President Park Geun-hye’s effort to clean up the government after the Sewol ferry tragedy in April.

“I intend to withdraw my nomination for Prime Minister today,” said a grim-looking Ahn at a 5:00 p.m. press conference yesterday. “I am very sorry for having disappointed the people over a series of suspicions about collusive ties (between the private and public sector).”

Ahn said since he began working as a private lawyer following his retirement as a Supreme Court justice in July 2012, he scrupulously tried to avoid suspicions that he was exploiting or misusing his long career in public service. Regardless, he said, he decided to abandon his nomination as prime minister to avoid putting a burden on the Park administration.

“It is also overbearing for me to watch the suffering of my family, who have given me strength, and clients who entrusted me to represent them (in court),” Ahn said. “I wish to return to life as an ordinary citizen.”

Ahn earlier denied he had done anything wrong or was involved in any conflict of interest by making 1.6 billion won ($1.5 million) from July 2013 through December 2013 by working as a private lawyer. Ahn retired as a Supreme Court justice in July 2012.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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