Prosecutors Seek Arrest Warrant for Ex-President Lee

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2018

The prosecution has concluded that former President Lee Myung-bak created some 34 billion won in slush funds through auto parts company DAS over 12 years.

"Each accusation he faces is a significant offence that requires formal arrest", an official from the prosecutor's office said, according to Yonhap news.

The likely arrest comes a year after Lee's successor, Park Geun-hye, was arrested on corruption charges following months of street protests.

Prosecutors on Monday sought a permit to detain the former president, citing the degree of the allegations against him - some 18 charges including bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion and abuse of power.

If the warrant is issued, Lee will become the 4th former South Korean president to be arrested.

Lee, 76, was questioned by police last week for a total of 21 hours over two days. A prosecutor said "nothing has been decided", which is usually code for yes.

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The conservative ex-leader has denounced the investigation as "political revenge" by his rivals.

Investigators believe the former president received around $186,600 from Ji Kwang, a monk in charge of one of Korea's biggest monasteries, in return for "accommodating the establishment of a Buddhist university", JoongAng Ilbo reported.

Samsung is alleged to have paid 5 million USA dollars of retaining fee, on Lee's behalf, in the United States for DAS, a South Korean auto parts maker which prosecutors said Lee owns under the names of his relatives.

Lee has denied all allegations, accusing the probe of being political retaliation by liberal President Moon Jae-in and vowing to "fight with utmost efforts to get the truth out in court".

Prosecutors are also investigating Lee's wife, Kim Yoon-ok, on suspicion that she accepted about £660,000 in bribes from sources including the national intelligence service.

Other reports by GizPress

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