Prosecutors request arrest warrant for Lee

21 March, 2018, 04:37 | Author: Darrell Baldwin
  • Lee Youn-taek arrives at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Sunday

Seoul prosecutors said Monday they are seeking the arrest of former President Lee Myung-bak over corruption allegations, on the grounds he might destroy evidence if not detained. A prosecutor said "nothing has been decided", which is usually code for yes.

Lee is suspected of granting a presidential pardon to Samsung's chairman in return.

Lee was reportedly charged with receiving tens of millions of US dollars in kickbacks from the country's intelligence agency and big companies including Samsung Electronics.

The ex-president denies known anything about it. If it approves the arrest, Lee will be the fourth surviving former South Korean leader to be detained over corruption. But the fresh revelations and his persistent claims that he knew nothing of what his immediate family were up to seem to have changed their minds.

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

The charges date back to his presidential run in 2007 when he allegedly took bribes from a buddhist monk who wanted Lee's help in establishing a university.

The former president, who was in office from 2008 to 2013, is also viewed as the real owner of auto parts maker DAS, which has been involved in several irregularities, such as creating a slush fund totaling some 30 billion won.

His close aide Kim Paik-joon, who is now standing trial over bribery linked to Lee, testified he received the illicit fund on behalf of Lee, and that the monk also appears to have admitted to his wrongdoing. Moon, who was Roh's chief of staff, previously called the investigation of Roh by the Lee government politically motivated.

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



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