MB accepts invite to Games’ opening ceremonyFormer President Lee Myung-bak will attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics as scheduled, an aide said Thursday, despite a prosecution investigation he has denounced as political retaliation against him.
“Former President Lee decided to attend the opening ceremony as planned,” the aide told Yonhap News Agency by phone. “We decided it is best that he attend the Olympics as a former president for the greater good.”
South Korea won the right to host the PyeongChang Games in 2011, during Lee’s term in office.
The decision ends speculation that Lee might turn down President Moon Jae-in’s invitation to the opening ceremony in protest to a prosecution investigation closing in on him. The prosecution reportedly plans to call Lee in for questioning after the Olympics.
Moon offered the invitation last week, and Lee said at the time he would consider giving a positive answer. But the mood changed quickly after the prosecution billed Lee as the main culprit earlier this week, while indicting one of his close aides on charges of receiving illicit funds from the state intelligence agency.
Lee has denounced the investigation as political retaliation over the death of late former President Roh Moo-hyun. Roh killed himself in 2009 when Lee was in office amid a corruption investigation that forced him to appear for questioning, a humiliation that many believe led to the suicide. Lee associates have claimed that the government of Moon, a key Roh ally who served as Roh’s chief of staff, is trying to force the same humiliation back on Lee. Prosecution and presidential officials flatly reject such claims.
Lee’s wife, Kim Yoon-ok, decided not to attend, aides said.