[JURIST] South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday charged former prime minister Han Myeong-sook with bribery. Han is accused of accepting USD $50,000 from former Korea Express CEO Kwak Young-wook in 2007 in exchange for helping him become president of Korea South-East Power Co., an affiliate of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation [corporate websites]. Han, a senior adviser to the main opposition Democratic Party, has denied the allegations [JoongAng Daily report], calling the charges politically motivated. Han was arrested last week after a court issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] when she refused to appear for questioning voluntarily. Kwak is also under arrest on embezzlement charges.
Han served as the country's first female prime minister under president Roh Moo-hyun [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] from April 2006 – March 2007. Roh, who was himself the target of a bribery investigation, died [JURIST report] in May from an apparent suicide. Shortly before his death, prosecutors had questioned Roh on suspicion that he accepted up to $6 million in bribes from Park Yeon-cha, a financial supporter who is also CEO of a shoe manufacturing company. Roh admitted that his wife had received $1 million from Park, but said the money was a loan rather than a bribe. Roh became president in 2003 after campaigning heavily against corruption.