Monday, 16 July, 2018


Another ex-South Korean leader questioned in corruption probe

Another ex-South Korean leader questioned in corruption probe Another ex-South Korean leader questioned in corruption probe
Bennie Garza | 14 March, 2018, 17:10

Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak appeared for questioning by Seoul prosecutors Wednesday as he faces a series of corruption allegations dating back a decade.

"I hope this is the last case in history", said Lee before entering the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

"I offer my deepest apology to the people for causing worry amid times when the economy is in hardship and the situation surrounding the Korean peninsula is serious", Lee said.

Lee is the 5th former South Korean president to be investigated by prosecutors.

As Lee continues to deny his involvement in the charges against him, the prosecution is expected to decide on whether to request an arrest warrant.

The ex-president rose to political power after a successful career as chief executive of Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co.

Former conservative President Park Geun-hye, Lee's successor, was removed from office previous year for an influence-peddling scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.

And Roh Moo-hyun, Lee's immediate predecessor, committed suicide in 2009 after he was questioned in a corruption probe involving his family.

The former military dictator Chun Doo-hwan was sentenced to death and his friend and successor, Roh Tae-woo, was sentenced to 22½ years in prison on bribery, mutiny and sedition charges in 1996.

Prosecutors estimate Lee holds more than 80 percent of the company's shares under borrowed names.

Their sentences were later commuted to life in prison, and they were eventually pardoned and released after serving about two years each.

Two of Lee's former aides have been arrested as part of the investigation and the homes and offices of his brothers raided.

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, had got a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion.

Lee reportedly denied the allegations during the morning interrogation session before breaking for lunch at 1:10 p.m.

According to reports, Lee is also accused of accepting 2.2 billion won from a former CEO of a state-financed banking group for helping him assume the post. It's alleged that Lee accepted almost 10 million dollars' worth of bribes during his presidential campaign and while he was in office.

A senior prosecutor told journalists: "We will treat the former president with dignity but we will conduct a through and transparent probe".

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