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Posted : 2008-12-16 17:58
Updated : 2008-12-16 17:58

Widow Calls for Roh’s Apology Over Death

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

The bereaved wife of a businessman who took his own life after being publicly ``humiliated'' by former President Roh Moo-hyun in a nationally televised press conference, plans to sue the former president unless he makes a formal apology.

Kim Sun-ok, wife of the late Nam Sang-guk, the former president of Daewoo Engineering & Construction (DE&C), said in an interview with a local daily, Tuesday, that she will sue Roh for defaming her husband, which made him commit suicide. Kim said all suspicions raised against Nam were later proved unfounded, and Roh should apologize for what he had said.

In 2004, Nam was investigated over allegations that he handed 30 million won ($21,000) to Roh's elder brother Roh Geon-pyeong, asking for help in being reappointed as CEO of DE&C. The then President, who was pushing a clean image, was angered by the allegations.

Roh said in a press conference that he would not want to see ``a successful man who walked the elite course giving money to and begging for something from a man who has no experience except in farming.''

Hours after the televised press conference was aired, Nam called up a prosecutor who questioned him and said he would ``take all responsibility and die.'' He later threw himself into the Han River.

Kim said her husband was ``publicly humiliated'' by Roh in the televised press conference, adding her husband had never sought a favor from a man he ``barely knew.''

She said it was Roh Geon-pyeong's brother-in-law who gave Roh the money and Nam was just stuck in between. ``The prosecution also concluded he was innocent,'' she claimed.

The prosecution later concluded that Nam was forced by Roh Geon-pyeong's brother-in-law to give the money and had ``reluctantly'' agreed to the ``suggestion'' for fear of a backlash.

The late Nam recently made headlines again when the elder Roh was arrested for having received bribes for influencing the sale of Sejong Securities to Nonghyup in 2006.

Kim said she does not want her husband's name involved in Roh's case anymore.

``If the former President doesn't apologize, I will consider filing a lawsuit,'' she said.

bjs@koreatimes.co.kr

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