Attention turning to Roh’s daughter

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Attention turning to Roh’s daughter

An allegation that the daughter of former President Roh Moo-hyun received possibly tainted money emerged yesterday following prosecutors’ questioning of Roh Jeong-yeon and her husband on Monday.

Investigators have uncovered evidence that a significant sum of funds from Park Yeon-cha found their way to Roh Jeong-yeon in September 2007, according to the central investigation unit of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office.

Park, chairman of Taekwang Industrial and a longtime Roh financial supporter, had earlier been accused of providing bribes to Roh and his wife. Prosecutors said yesterday that the allegation involving Roh’s daughter is a new addition to the case.

“We have questioned Roh’s daughter and her husband and confirmed that the money was spent at her end,” Hong Man-pyo, a senior prosecutor in charge of the case, said yesterday.

According to the prosecution, hundreds of thousands of dollars were wired from the corporate account of APC, a Hong Kong-based firm operated by Park, to a bank account of a friend of Roh’s daughter in the United States. The money was laundered during the course of the transfer, prosecutors said.

A prosecution source said the money appeared to have been used on living expenses for Roh’s daughter, including housing costs. Prosecutors also said they have obtained testimony from Park and Chung Sang-moon, a former Blue House aide, about the money. “This is a new allegation that we did not ask about when we questioned the former president,” Hong said. Roh had been questioned for allegedly receiving at least $6 million from Park.

Park has said he provided $1 million in cash in 2007 to then-First Lady Kwon Yang-sook. Kwon and Roh have said they used the money to pay debts. Roh was also questioned about Park’s $5 million investment in a business owned by the husband of Roh’s niece. Prosecutors suspect the money eventually ended up in the hands of Roh’s son, while Roh insists that the investment was a legitimate business deal.

Prosecutors said Kwon will be questioned again this week about the new allegation involving her daughter.

In a separate investigation, prosecutors summoned Kim Jong-bok, former head of the Jungbu Regional Tax Office and an in-law of Park, for questioning about alleged attempts to ease a tax probe on Park’s businesses. Kim was asked if he, Park and Chun Shin-il, chairman of Sejoong Namo and a close friend of President Lee Myung-bak, had meetings to influence the probe.

By Ser Myo-ja, Kim Seung-hyun []

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