South Korean President Lee Myung-bak apologized to the nation on Tuesday for a number of corruption scandals involving his former aides and his elder brother, marking the sixth public apology during his five-year Presidency.
"Fellow Koreans, disgraceful incidents have recently happened to my family and surroundings and caused so much anxiety to people," a grim-faced Lee said in a nationally televised apology.
"I bow my head and extend my apology for causing anxiety to people due to these incidents," Lee said without mentioning the names of his elder brother and former aides involved in the scandals.
According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, Lee's final year in office saw some of his close aides jailed for money-for-influence scandals. In the latest blow, his elder brother Lee Sang-deuk was arrested on July 11 on suspicions of receiving more than half-a-million dollars from two troubled savings banks.
Prosecutors have been widely expected to indict the elder Lee on Thursday or Friday. A former six-term lawmaker and considered the most powerful figure behind the Lee administration, The elder Lee has been accused of receiving the money from savings banks Solomon and Mirae in return for influencing authorities who were investigating the banks.
"I had thought that it would be appropriate for me to wait for the results of the investigation by the prosecution, but I stand here before you because I judged that it is my minimum duty to pour out my heart to the people ahead of the results," said Lee whose Presidency ends in February, 2013.
Lee said he would "take full responsibility" for the graft scandals, but made it clear that he would not let his grip on power slip and stall policymaking. "Situations in and out of the country are so urgent, so I can never neglect my duties as President," he said.
It was for the first time in South Korea's history that the kin of a sitting President was arrested and imprisoned awaiting trial in a criminal case. Prosecutors are also investigating into whether the elder Lee used the bribes for the 2007 Presidential election campaign for President Lee.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org