Seoul prosecutors seek warrant for former president in bribery case

By Jennie Oh  |  March 19, 2018 at 1:08 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

SEOUL, March 19 (UPI) -- South Korean prosecutors have decided to seek an arrest warrant for former President Lee Myung-bak who is currently under investigation for various allegations of bribery and misconducts during his years in office.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office announced the decision Monday, saying Lee may attempt to destroy evidence considering his denial over most of the allegations against him.

In the request, prosecutors stated Lee received large amounts of kickbacks and organized the creation of illegal slush funds through his auto parts company, Yonhap reported.

If the arrest warrant is approved, Lee will become the second former president in history to be investigated under arrest, after impeached ex-President Park Geun-hye less than a year ago.

Lee faces some 18 charges of bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion and abuse-of-power during his five-year term from 2008 to 2013.

He has been accused of receiving about $10 million in kickbacks including $5.6 million from Samsung Electronics to cover legal fees for auto parts company DAS which he has long been suspected of owning and controlling.

According to prosecutors, Lee was further accused of taking bribes from a prominent Buddhist monk ahead of the 2007 presidential election in which he was a contender.

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.

Both the monk and a former presidential aide to Lee are said to have confirmed the allegation through their testimonies, however, the former leader denied any knowledge of the affair during a 21-hour questioning session last week.

A warrant hearing is expected to take place on Thursday, the Korea Economic Daily reported.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories
Photos