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(LEAD) Former PM again ignores prosecutor summons

All Headlines 19:35 December 14, 2009

(ATTN: UPDATES with prosecution's response in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- Former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook did not respond to a second summons on Monday for questioning over allegations that she received kickbacks while in office from a disgraced business executive, prosecutors said.

Han, who served as prime minister under the Roh Moo-hyun administration from April 2006 to March 2007, has been under a prosecutor-led investigation on suspicion of receiving US$50,000 from Kwak Young-wook, the former CEO of Korea Express who is now under arrest on embezzlement charges.

"Han didn't attend (the summons) today. We are now considering what to do next," said an official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

The allegation was first reported by a local newspaper last week, which said Han was suspected of helping Kwak move to the top post of a state-owned corporation in April 2007.

Prosecutors delivered the initial summons on Friday.

Han has vowed to fight the charges, arguing the investigation is politically motivated and illegal.

"Prosecutors leaked groundless facts based on Kwak's confession, without providing any evidence to support the credibility of his remarks," Yang Jung-chul, Han's spokesman, said.

Later in the day, the prosecution indicated the possibility of seeking a warrant for Han's arrest by saying that they would no longer issue summons to her.

"We don't think it is meaningful anymore to summon her, as she did not comply with our summons today and publicly expressed an intent not to comply with them (down the road)," a prosecution official said.

The prosecution is studying several options, the official added.

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