South Korean president apologizes for bribery scandals in his inner circle
July 24, 2012 -- Updated 0952 GMT (1752 HKT)
South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak apologized to the nation for corruption cases dogging his elder brother and inner circle.
- South Korean president Lee Myung-bak apologized for recent scandals
- Lee's older brother and aides are suspected of receiving bribes
- "This is all my fault," Lee said in a speech to the nation
(CNN) -- South Korean president Lee Myung-bak apologized to his country for what he called "shameful incidents" involving his family and inner circle on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, his older brother, Lee Sang-deuk was arrested on bribery charges involving two troubled Korean banks. This week, prosecutors in Korea sought arrest warrants for two former aides to Lee on the suspicion of receiving bribes from the same two banks, according to Yonhap, a South Korean news agency.
Lee addressed the nation with a speech that was carried live.
"I came into the office with firm determination to bring a clean political climate," Lee said. "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."
The president's brother, Lee Sang-deuk.
South Korea: Free speech not so free?
UAE and South Korea: Trading buddies
"This is all my fault," Lee said.
His brother, Lee Sang-deuk is a former six-term lawmaker and has widely been considered the major force behind Lee's presidential election in 2007. Lee Sang-deuk has remained in a detention center since his arrest on July 11, over allegations he received about half a million dollars from the banks Solomon and Mirae in exchange for exerting influence over officials investigating the banks, according to a court official.
The operations of those two banks were suspended in May for six months by authorities.
In his address to the nation, Lee said he felt pain and regret over the scandals.
"I will receive any criticism as if it is sweet," he said.
Lee is not running for re-election this year because South Korean presidents are limited to a single five-year term. But the recent scandals could affect his political party in the December elections.
"I express sincere apology to the people," Lee said.
Lee's brother is not the first relative of a South Korean president to face criminal charges.
Former President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide in 2009 amid an investigation into a bribery scandal that had tarnished his reputation. His older brother was convicted and sentenced to prison.
Former President Kim Dae-jung's three sons were also imprisoned for corruption by the end of his presidential term.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories