S Korea's former PM arrested over alleged bribery scandal

14:27, December 18, 2009      

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Prosecutors Friday arrested South Korea's former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook for questioning over alleged bribery scandal that implicated her.

Scores of supporters of the former prime minister were at the scene, shouting slogans against what they see as "politically motivated investigation."

"I haven't lived a dishonest life," Han was quoted as saying by Seoul's Yonhap news agency, before the arrest. "I will respect the court's decision," she added.

South Korea's first and only female prime minister is expected to deny the charges with the presence of a lawyer or resort to right to remain silent during the questioning, Yonhap said.

Prosecutors plan to send her back after questioning, considering her prominent status as a senior politician and a key figure in the previous administration, according to media reports here.

The arrest comes after the ex-prime minister repeatedly refused to turn herself in to face questioning on an alleged bribery scandal that claims Han received 50,000 U.S. dollars from Kwak Young-wook, ex-CEO of Korea Express, in 2007 when she was still in office.

In return for the money Han allegedly received, the allegation goes, Han has helped Kwak, who is now under arrest on embezzlement charges, win the top post of the company.

Earlier this week, Seoul's court issued an arrest warrant against her, which the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office has since sought to execute.

Han has called the move "politically motivated" and has said she would respond to prosecutors in a legal way, citing the right to remain silent.

Having served as prime minister under the administration of late former President Roh Moo-hyun from April 2006 to March 2007, Han currently sits as a senior adviser to the main opposition Democratic Party.

Source: Xinhua
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