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S. Korea's Lee apologizes for graft scandal

[ 2012-07-25 11:11] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak issued a public apology on Tuesday for what he said was "unsavory" conduct by people close to him, two weeks after his brother was arrested in a graft scandal that also sent some of his closest aides to jail.

Lee's apology on live national TV, where he bowed deeply and said he had nobody to blame but himself, marked the latest blow to the political credibility of a leader who had vowed to clean up the corruption-prone image of South Korea's leadership.

"I bow my head in apology to the people for causing concern over these matters," Lee said.

"Who could I blame at this point? It is all my fault. I will willingly accept any rebuke."

Lee's older brother, Lee Sang-deuk, a long-time member of parliament, was taken into custody on July 11, one week after he appeared before prosecutors to answer questions about allegations that he took money from a failed savings bank in return for favors.

The scandal was part of a string of failed junior lenders, due to mismanagement, that caused thousands of mostly working class customers to lose their savings that exceeded a 50 million won ($43,600) state deposit insurance.

The public mea culpa was Lee's fourth since he took office in February 2008.

The imprisonment of the elder Lee, who is suspected of taking some 600 million won ($529,200) from local savings banks, was the last straw for the president as he trudges toward the end of his five-year term.

Some of his key confidants, including former top communications regulator Choi See-joong and former vice-minister of Knowledge Economy Park Young-joon, have also been arrested.

Other high-profile Lee associates in trouble include former presidential secretary Kim Hee-jung, former parliamentary speaker Park Hee-tae and former vice-minister of culture Shin Jae-min.

Before he was elected to lead South Korea, Lee was mired in a financial scam that implicated a former colleague at an investment company called BBK.

Critics say the scandals are an ironic juxtaposition to Lee's national drive for a "fair society" and claims that he is leading a "morally perfect" administration, now a subject of much derision, according to Xinhua.

Opposition lawmakers believe the apology was a red herring.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

S. Korea's Lee apologizes for graft scandal

About the broadcaster:

S. Korea's Lee apologizes for graft scandal

Rosie Tuck is a copy editor at the China Daily website. She was born in New Zealand and graduated from Auckland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Communications studies majoring in journalism and television. In New Zealand she was working as a junior reporter for the New Zealand state broadcaster TVNZ. She is in Beijing on an Asia New Zealand Foundation grant, working as a journalist in the English news department at the China Daily website.