South Korean prosecutors seek arrest warrant for ex-President Lee: Yonhap

Doris Richards
March 20, 2018

The wife of embattled former President Lee Myung-bak is expected to face a summons or questioning from prosecutors soon, as suspicions have arisen that she was involved in Lee's acceptance of illegal money and other alleged illegalities during his presidency, prosecution sources said Saturday.

Lee returned home Thursday after lengthy questioning as he became the last of the country's living ex-leaders to be embroiled in a criminal inquiry. Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison term for her.

Prosecutors accuse Lee of taking a total of 11 billion won ($10 million) in bribes from his own intelligence agency, business groups and a former lawmaker. "We explained the unavoidable need for his arrest, and also that there is a great risk of him destroying evidence since he has denied even basic facts related to the allegations".

The Seoul prosecutors' office investigating the case said Monday it had officially asked the court to order Lee's formal arrest.

The case resurfaced in February when former Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo confessed that his company helped pay $3.7 million in legal fees to Akin Gump for the USA law firm's work done on behalf of DAS, a auto parts maker that the prosecution believed was actually controlled by Lee Myung-bak instead of its listed owner, Lee Sang-eun, the former president's brother.

Prosecutors originally meant to question Lee only once to honor his status as former president.

"As a former president, I have a lot to say about this but I will spare my words", he told reporters when he arrived for the interrogation.

In return for the legal fee offer, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee is believed to have bought a presidential pardon in 2009 when the Samsung chairman, now in hospital, got a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion. Lee's conservative successor, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office and jailed a year ago in a separate corruption scandal. Lee referred to the 2009 suicide of liberal ex-President Roh Moo-hyun, who jumped to his death during a corruption investigation involving his family when Lee was president.

Both Chun and Roh received presidential pardons after serving about two years.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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