South Korea's president apologizes for corruption scandals


South Korean President Lee Myung-bak bows to make an apology to the nation at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on July 24, 2012. Lee apologized to the nation for corruption cases allegedly involving his elder brother and close aides.



South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak apologized to his country over corruption investigations involving his family and former aides that he called "shameful incidents."

Earlier this month, the president's older brother, Lee Sang-deuk, was arrested on bribery charges involving two Korean banks, reported CNN. Prosecutors sought arrest warrants earlier this week for two former aides to the president on suspicion of receiving bribes from the same two banks.

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"I came into the office with firm determination to bring a clean political climate," Lee said in an address to the nation, according to CNN. "I tried, by returning my entire fortune to the society and donating my salary. I was proud that I thought I brought in good results. But my heart collapsed and I cannot keep my head up after what happened to people so close to me."

"This is all my fault," Lee said.

The New York Times said that Lee, who once praised his government as being "morally perfect," was so ashamed during his speech that he could hardly lift his face.

"The more I think about it, the more it crushes my heart," he said, according to the Times. "But whom can I blame now? It's all because of my negligence. I bow before the people in apology."

The president's brother, a former lawmaker for six terms and his political mentor, faces allegations of taking 600 million won ($525,000) in bribes from the two banks in question to help them avoid an audit, reported BBC News. Because of widespread anger over the bank bribery scandal, Lee Sang-deuk's arrest and possible trial could affect support for the president's party in December's elections.