Seoul, July 24, 2012 (AFP) - South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak apologised to the nation Tuesday for corruption cases allegedly involving his elder brother and close aides.
"I bow my head and apologise for causing concern to the people with these incidents," a solemn Lee said in brief televised remarks.
"It breaks my heart... that such regrettable things have happened among people so close to me."
The incidents are seen as a setback for Lee's conservative ruling party before a presidential election in December. He himself is barred from serving a second five-year term due to constitutional limits.
Lee's elder brother Lee Sang-Deuk was arrested and detained earlier this month pending a corruption trial.
Prosecutors allege the 76-year-old former lawmaker took 600 million won ($525,000) from the chairmen of two troubled savings banks between 2007 and 2011 in return for helping them avoid audits and punishment.
The scandal was the latest in a series of corruption cases involving people close to the president, whose term ends in February 2013.