Credibility questioned over Cho‘s allegations
By Kim Bo-eun
The credibility of former police chief Cho Hyon-oh’s allegations over late President Roh Moo-hyun’s possession of a slush fund in a borrowed-name bank account has been called into question.
Cho told the prosecution Wednesday after being summoned that he obtained the information about the fund from “someone at the Central Investigation Division (CID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.”
However, he remained silent on the source and did not submit any additional evidence to prove his claims.
He had said that he received a report from within the police that 1 billion won worth of checks had been deposited in former first lady Kwon Yang-sook’s secretary’s bank account.
But it had already been concluded by the CID that the account only had 2 million won in it and was not used as a slush fund.
Cho has caused controversy after he explicitly cited the existence of a slush fund as the reason behind Roh’s suicide during a police workshop in March 2010 while serving as head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency.
“Isn’t the reason the late President Roh jumped to his death because of the fact that a borrowed account with huge sums of money was found the day before?” he said.
He was sued by Roh’s bereaved family and the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation for defamation of the late President in August that year.
Cho has publically apologized to the family saying, “I am sorry for having caused worries by the inappropriate comments I made two years ago. Regardless of whether the statements are true or not, I regret having made them.”
Roh committed suicide in 2009, a year after leaving office, amid probes into allegations that his family members had received illicit funds from businessmen.
The investigators at Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office are considering further questioning of Cho as specific evidence further supporting his claims has not been presented.
Whether there was a borrowed-name account and whether there is pertinent proof will be key in deciding whether to indict Cho on libel charges.