Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - President Lee Myung-bak apologized Tuesday for a spate of corruption scandals that have ensnared his elder brother and former aides.
"Disgraceful incidents have recently happened to my family and surroundings and caused much anxiety to the people," Lee said in a somber nationally-televised speech at the Blue House in Seoul.
"I bow my head and apologize," he said.
The public apology, his sixth since taking office in 2008, came as state prosecutors moved to indict Lee Sang-deuk, the president's elder brother and political mentor, on bribery charges.
A former six-term lawmaker and National Assembly speaker, the elder Lee was considered the most influential figure in the current administration next to the president. Now under arrest, he faces accusations that he took more than half a million dollars from two troubled savings banks in exchange for influence-peddling.
The scandal has dealt a heavy blow to President Lee, who has seen many of his close associates be accused of corruption. Among them is Choi See-choong, former chairman of the Korea Communications Commission, currently standing trial for receiving bribes from businessmen.
Another aide of Lee, Kim Hee-jung, a former secretary in charge of the president's personal affairs, may be facing a similar fate, as the prosecution sought an arrest warrant for him on charges of bribery.
The president vowed to devote the remaining months of his presidency to guarding the local economy from global woes and serving the people. His term ends in February 2013 and he is barred by law from seeking re-election.
Opposition parties said Lee's words were not enough to win back public confidence in the administration.
"The president's apology was too late and just words," the largest opposition Democratic United Party said in a statement.
It demanded the president clarify suspicions that some of the bribes that his brother and aides allegedly took may have been used for his presidential campaign.
The ruling Saenuri Party expressed regret, stressing efforts to eradicate corruption.
"It is regretful that President Lee was no exception to our politics' chronic illness - corruption among the president's close aides and relatives," it said.