What Was the Money Roh Received for?

Former president Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday admitted having accepted money while in office from Park Yeon-cha, the chairman of shoe manufacturer Taekwang Industry, to pay off debts. But at the time, Roh declared an increase in assets.

Roh reported to the government ethics committee that his assets rose from W472 million (US$1=W1,322) to W972 million during his five years of presidency, explaining the W500-million increase was saved from presidential salaries. The president’s annual income is around W170 million.

Thus if Roh indeed had a lot of debt, it must be related to the water company he ran before he became president, which apparently amounted to W3 billion. There is speculation that the Rohs received financial help from Park to support the studies of their two children abroad.

Others point to the cost of building Roh’s retirement house in Bongha Village. While building the house, Roh said he got loans from banks and other sources. Or the debt could be his wife’s.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 08, 2009 12:34 KST