SEOUL, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison and given a fine of $11 million for corruption.
The Seoul Central District Court found Lee guilty of multiple corruption charges while confirming Lee's effective control of auto parts manufacturing company DAS, which Lee has long been associated with.
"A lot of suspicions had been raised against the defendant during the presidential campaign in 2007. But the defendant was elected as president, thanks to the majority of people, who believed in his innocence. He had a responsibility to use his authority for the people, according to the constitution and law," said judge Jeong Gye-seon.
Lee wasn't present at the trial, citing health problems.
"He failed to meet people's expectation but accepted bribes, including from Samsung," the judge read the ruling.
The court saw that Lee owns DAS under the names of his relatives and he holds the effective control of the company. Lee "took profits from the company for a long period" while serving as a lawmaker and Seoul mayor from 1992 to 2006, according to the ruling.
The court said Lee embezzled a total of $22 million in slush funds from DAS. Lee ordered acquiring DAS stakes from the money he earned from a land sale under the name of his elder brother Lee Sang-eun, the largest shareholder of the company.
The court also saw that Lee took bribes of $5 million from Samsung, in exchange for a presidential pardon for Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee. The money was paid by Samsung to cover DAS' lawsuit in the U.S.
Lee is the fourth South Korean president found guilty of criminal and corruption charges after their terms ended.