Top Seoul politicians offer to resign over bribe claims
Korean upheaval: Corruption scandal shakes government in South, as defector leaves North reeling
Thursday 13 February 1997
"I believe the Prime Minister must take responsibility," Prime Minister Lee Soo Sung was quoted by his spokesman as telling a Cabinet meeting. "I have no intention to cling to my post."
Ahn Kwan Ki, Mr Lee's spokesman, said the Prime Minister held himself morally responsible, although he was not directly involved in the scandal, which centres on a bankrupt steel company.
Lee Hong Koo, chairman of the ruling New Korea Party, also told President Kim Young Sam that he was ready to resign, party officials said yesterday. Mr Lee had been seeking his party's nomination to run for president in an election scheduled for December.
It remained uncertain whether the President would accept the two leaders' offer to quit, officials said.
The offers came shortly after prosecutors called in two close aides to President Kim for questioning about alleged involvement in the scandal. Before he appeared for questioning, the Home Minister, Kim Woo Suk, also offered to resign.
Also questioned yesterday was Hwang Byong Tae, a former ambassador to China and now a ruling party MP. Kwon Ro Gap, a close confidant of opposition presidential hopeful Kim Dae Jung, was another politician questioned yesterday.
Two bank heads and two government MPs, including an aide to President Kim, have already been arrested on charges of taking bribes or peddling influence for loans to bankrupt Hanbo Steel Industry Co.
Hanbo Steel, a flagship company of the Hanbo group, South Korea's 14th largest conglomerate, collapsed on 23 January with $6bn debt, mostly in bank loans. Three other Hanbo subsidiaries also went under.
The Home Minister headed the Construction Ministry in 1993-1994, when Hanbo obtained a government permit to build a steel plant on reclaimed land. Mr Hwang was ambassador to China in 1993-1995, when Hanbo was looking into investments in steel and construction projects there. He heads the National Assembly's Finance Committee.
Mr Kwon, a vice president of the largest opposition party, the National Congress for New Politics, had earlier admitted receiving $180,000 from Hanbo but claimed it was a legitimate political contribution.
He also admitted later that he had received $116,000 from Hanbo through a government MP who was arrested on Tuesday on charges of taking an equal amount of cash in bribes from the steel company.
The developments were the latest in the 18-day government investigation into the scandal, which has become a major embarrassment for President Kim and his government.
Mr Dae-jung said he has evidence that the President received illegal political funds from Hanbo for his 1992 election campaign, which eventually laid the foundation for the preferential government bank loans to the steel company. The President did not respond to the accusation.
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Eleven members of same family hospitalised after eating deadly pufferfish
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Phone-hacking: The Piers Morgan connection - Mirror admits some stories during Morgan's tenure may have been obtained by illegal means
Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...