12-19-2008 17:48
Roh Sued for Defaming Late Daewoo E&C CEO

Former President Roh Moo-hyun
By Kim Rahn
Staff Reporter

The bereaved family of a former Daewoo Engineering and Construction (E&C) chief filed a suit against former President Roh Moo-hyun for defamation, which they claim triggered his suicide.

The wife, two children and a brother of former CEO Nam Sang-guk lodged the suit with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office Friday. The suit came three days after they demanded Roh make a public apology or face legal action. Roh has not apologized yet.

Nam, who was under investigation in 2004 for alleged money offering to Roh's elder brother, Roh Geon-pyong, to be reappointed as the CEO, killed himself hours after the former President ``publicly humiliated him'' in a nationally televised press conference.

At the conference, Roh said that he would not want to see ``a man like the Daewoo E&C chief who completed the elite course and had huge success give money to and begging a man (Geon-pyong) who is engaged in farming and has no influence.'' Hours after the broadcast of Roh's remarks, Nam leapt from a bridge into the Han River, killing himself.

``Nam neither sought the elder Roh's influence, nor gave him money. But the former President mentioned his name four times in the conference as if the allegations were true, damaging his honor severely,'' the bereaved family members said in the complaint. ``On the contrary, the senior Roh and his son-in-law first demanded money and other favors of Nam, saying they would help him be reappointed. Nam was forced to give 30 million won to the son-in-law, who then passed the money to the elder Roh.''

The complainants said that the prosecution had confirmed the money demand from the son-in-law on March 10 in 2004, a day before Roh's conference, but that the former President condemned Nam without confirming whether the allegations were true.

They claimed they suffered from mental pain again as the media recently mentioned Nam again along with the elder Roh's arrest for another bribery charge. ``We demanded the former President apologize because we wanted to stop the pain and restore Nam's honor. But Roh showed no reaction to our demand,'' they said in a statement.