Seoul court to decide arrest warrant for former President Lee Myung-bak

By Jennie Oh  |  March 20, 2018 at 5:28 AM
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SEOUL, March 20 (UPI) -- A Seoul court will determine this week whether to issue an arrest warrant for former President Lee Myung-bak, who is currently under investigation for alleged bribery and other misconducts during his years in office.

The Seoul Central District Court said it will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. to review the prosecution's request for an arrest warrant, JoongAng Ilbo reported.

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.

They also said Lee could attempt to destroy evidence, judging from his denial of most of the charges made against him in a 21-hour long questioning session last week.

In the warrant request, investigators pointed to Lee as the real owner of an auto company named DAS, which he has long been suspected of owning and controlling to conceal his assets and create secret slush funds.

The former conservative leader is also believed to have taken money from Samsung Group to fund legal costs for his auto parts firm, along with other bribes from other corporations and the country's intelligence agency.

The prosecution says he took some 11 billion won ($10.3 million) in kickbacks and embezzled 35 billion won ($32.7 million).

Investigators say they discovered critical evidence that supports their suspicions including his connection to DAS, during a raid on his office in January.

The court's decision on issuing a warrant for arrest is expected early Friday, Yonhap reported.

Lee's secretariat says the 76-year-old will not attend the hearing as he has "fully explained himself to the prosecution."

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