South Korea's prime minister steps down over bribery scandal

AP News
Posted: Apr 27, 2015 7:17 AM
South Korea's prime minister steps down over bribery scandal

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's president accepted the resignation of her prime minister on Monday over a bribery scandal, officials said.

Prime Minster Lee Wan Koo offered to resign last week, just two months after taking the country's No. 2 post. He has been at the heart of a corruption scandal involving a dead businessman and other high-profile figures, mostly close associates of President Park Geun-hye.

The scandal is a blow to Park's government, which is still reeling from lingering public criticism of its handling of a ferry disaster last year that killed more than 300 people. Violence occurred during a Seoul rally earlier this month by relatives of the ferry victims and their supporters, leaving dozens of people injured.

Businessman Sung Wan-jong said before committing suicide this month that he gave 30 million won ($27,390) to Lee in 2013.

South Korean media have reported evidence of ties between Sung and Lee, but Lee has denied the bribery allegation.

President Park's office said she accepted Lee's resignation, but didn't announce his replacement.

Lee's office confirmed his departure, saying he left his office after making a farewell speech.

Executive power in South Korea is concentered in the president, but the prime minister leads the government if the president becomes incapacitated.