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S. Korea PM Offers to Resign Amid Bribery Scandal

  • VOA News

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo, walking on the terrace of his residence in Seoul, South Korea, offered to resign amid a bribery scandal, April 21, 2015.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo offered to resign Tuesday after becoming caught up in a bribery scandal.

Prime Minister Lee has faced allegations he accepted illegal funds from a businessman who committed suicide earlier this month.

Just before his death, the businessman, Sung Wan-jong, told local media he had bribed several top government officials, including Lee.

Sung was found hanging from a tree in Seoul. In his pocket was a list containing the names of eight officials who allegedly received the illegal funds.

Most of the officials, including Lee, are thought to be close allies of President Park Geun-hye.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied accepting the $27,000 in bribes, even telling reporters if this were the case he would "lay down" his life.

Park, who is on a trip to Latin America, has yet to decide whether to accept the resignation of the prime minister.

"I find it regrettable. I also feel sympathy for the agony of the prime minister," she said in a statement, adding a thorough investigation should be conducted.

The president has had repeated difficulties with her picks for prime minister, which is a largely ceremonial position in South Korea.

Several of her prime ministerial nominees and other cabinet member picks have had to withdraw after questions were raised about their past behavior.