Prominent S Korea politician found dead in possible suicide

SEOUL, South Korea | Prominent S Korea politician found dead in possible suicide

SEOUL, South Korea — A prominent liberal South Korean lawmaker embroiled in a corruption scandal was found dead on Monday, police said, in what appeared to be one of the country’s highest-profile suicides in recent years.

Three-term lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan of the small opposition Justice Party was found dead near a Seoul apartment building on Monday morning. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him before he was pronounced dead, police said.

South Korean media including Yonhap news agency reported Roh leapt to his death from the building after leaving a suicide note saying he feels sorry to his family.

Police said they couldn’t immediately confirm the report.

Roh faced an investigation over an allegation that he received money from an associate of an influential blogger jailed over an online opinion-rigging scandal. The allegation tarnished Roh’s clean and reform-minded image.

The independent counsel investigating the rigging scandal, Huh Ik-bum, told a televised briefing that he feels distressed with the “tragic news” of Roh’s death. Huh said he personally “respects” Roh and will pray for his soul.

South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. A string of business executives, K-pop stars and other celebrities have killed themselves.

If Roh’s death is determined as a suicide, he would be the highest-profile politician who killed himself or herself since former President Roh Moo-hyun jumped to his death in 2009 amid a corruption scandal involving his family.

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By HYUNG-JIN KIM,  Associated Press