Sat, October 21, 2017 | 19:35
Posted : 2017-09-25 17:13
Updated : 2017-09-26 14:01

Roh Moo-hyun's death resurfaces

Allegation by former Lee Myung-bak aide infuriates liberals

By Jun Ji-hye

The family of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun filed a libel suit, Monday, against Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the largest conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP) over his claims last week that Roh committed suicide after quarreling with his wife.

The allegation by Chung, a former aide to ex-President Lee Myung-bak, prompted uproar among liberal politicians.
Roh Geon-ho, son of the late President Roh Moo-hyun, appears at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, Monday, to submit a complaint against Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the largest conservative Liberty Korea Party for libeling his father. Chung wrote on Facebook last week that Roh and his wife, Kwon Yang-sook, had a quarrel just before Roh committed suicide in 2009, and Kwon ran away from home. / Yonhap
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) claimed Chung is raising a groundless allegation in order to defend Lee from an ongoing investigation into state-perpetrated irregularities committed under the Lee administration (2008-2013). Chung was Lee's chief secretary for political affairs from 2010 to 2011.

Chung wrote on Facebook on Sept. 20 that Roh committed suicide in 2009 due to a quarrel he had with his wife, Kwon Yang-sook, after Kwon and their son were questioned by prosecutors over allegations that they received bribes worth millions of dollars from former businessman, Park Yeon-Cha. Chung also said Kwon ran away from home after the quarrel.

Regarding Roh's death, liberals have claimed the conservative president unfairly targeted his liberal predecessor in an act of political retaliation, while conservatives said the bribe allegations involving Roh's family still need to be unearthed.

"Chung's blunt remarks are hurting the people," DPK Chairwoman Rep. Choo Mi-ae said at a party meeting, Monday. "But the people will see through his intentions and will not fall prey to his stratagem."

Rep. Park Nam-choon called on the party to take legal action promptly against Chung, saying his remarks cannot be forgotten even after he expressed regret.

"Conservatives have politically used the late Roh whenever wrongdoings of the conservative governments were disclosed," Park said. "Such impure attitudes are not acceptable. They should take legal responsibility."

Chung made the controversial remarks while state prosecutors are investigating allegations that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) attempted to exercise influence on public broadcasting under the Lee administration through detailed plans including personnel intervention.

The NIS's in-house reform committee, set up under the Moon Jae-in administration, handed over relevant documents to the prosecution on Sept. 14 and requested the investigation. Moon was Roh's chief of staff.

Expectations have been growing that Lee could be the subject of such a probe.

Separately, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon filed a complaint with the prosecution against Lee, Sept. 19, accusing him of defamation and abuse of power. Park claimed the NIS systematically conducted illegal surveillance on him and spread groundless rumors about him and his family during the Lee administration.

As the controversy grew, Chung wrote on Facebook again on Sept. 23, expressing regret over the criticism regarding his earlier post.

"I did not intend to hurt the late Roh or his family," he said, claiming the Moon administration is unfairly targeting the Lee government in another act of political retaliation "to resolve Roh's deep sorrow."

The DPK members said Chung's explanation only served to deepen the controversy, saying he de facto admitted that Lee retaliated by orchestrating the 2009 investigation by the prosecution against Roh.

Citing that the LKP is currently calling on the prosecution to investigate the bribe allegations involving Roh's family again, the DPK members also said Chung and the LKP are trying to water down the controversy over the alleged unlawfulness of the NIS under the Lee administration.

관련 한글 기사

노무현 전 대통령 유족, '막말 논란' 정진석 의원 고소

노건호 '정치적 필요로 고인 욕보여…재수사론은 정치공세'

고(故) 노무현 전 대통령의 유족이 '막말 논란'을 빚은 정진석 자유한국당 의원을 검찰에 고소했다.

노 전 대통령의 장남 노건호씨와 부인 권양숙 여사는 25일 서울중앙지검에 정 의원을 명예훼손과 사자(死者)명예훼손 혐의로 조사해 달라고 고소장을 제출했다.

직접 고소장을 제출한 노건호씨는 '정치적 필요에 따라 고인을 욕보이는 일이 끊임없이 반복되고 있다'며 '아버님이 무슨 잘못을 했기에 계속 현실정치에 소환돼야 하는지 이해할 수 없다'고 토로했다.

노씨는 야권에서 노 전 대통령의 뇌물사건 재수사론이 거론되는 것을 두고도 '아버님이 이미 돌아가셨기 때문에 사실상 수사가 불가능하다는 점을 이용한 비열한 정치공세'라며 '추악한 셈법으로 고인을 욕보이는 일이 다시 없길 바란다'고 말했다.

정 의원은 지난 22일 자신의 페이스북에 노 전 대통령의 죽음을 두고 '노 대통령의 부인 권양숙 씨와 아들이 박연차씨로부터 수백만 달러의 금품 뇌물을 받은 혐의로 검찰 조사를 받은 뒤 부부싸움 끝에 권씨는 가출하고, 그날 밤 혼자 남은 노 대통령이 스스로 목숨을 끊은 사건'이라고 표현해 논란을 일으켰다.

유족들은 정 의원의 표현이 노 전 대통령과 권 여사의 명예를 훼손한 것이라며 고소했다.

한편 이날 중앙지검에는 노 전 대통령 유족과 무관한 시민이 정 의원을 명예훼손 등 혐의로 고발하는 고발장도 접수됐다.(연합)