Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has face questioning by prosecutors on Wednesday over allegations of bribery and other suspected crimes.
Lee arrived at the prosecutors’ office on Wednesday morning.
Lee is suspected of having Samsung Electronics shoulder lawsuit fees of about 6 billion won, or more than 5 million dollars, for an auto-parts company he effectively controlled. In return, Lee allegedly pardoned the chairman of Samsung Electronics, who received a suspended prison sentence for tax evasion.
Lee is also suspected of having illegally accepted what are called special activity fees from the country’s intelligence agency through multiple presidential aides.
South Korean media have reported that Lee allegedly received more than 9 million dollars in possible bribes. They say the prosecutors have already obtained statements from Lee’s aides that prove the allegations.
Lee is denying all the allegations. He says he does not own the auto-parts company and denies any involvement with the firm. He also argues that he did not know about the money provided by the intelligence agency.
Lee has been lashing out at what he calls political retribution against conservatives by the government of President Moon Jae-in.Lee will be the 5th former South Korean president to be grilled by prosecutors.
Prosecutors in Seoul have finished questioning former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak who allegedly accepted millions of dollars’ worth of bribes.
He reportedly denied all the allegations.
The questioning started shortly before 10 AM on Wednesday at the prosecutors’ office and finished around 6 AM on Thursday.
Lee is the 5th former president to be investigated by prosecutors and follows the impeachment and trial of ousted president Park Geun-hye.
Lee could potentially be facing as many as 20 separate charges.
It’s alleged he accepted nearly 10 million dollars’ worth of bribes during his presidential campaign and while he was in office.
Lee has said the investigation is politically motivated.
He said, “I’m sorry for the stress this has caused people who believe and support me. I also feel badly for people who have been caught up in these allegations. I have lots of things to say to the media, as a former president. But I have made up my mind that I should not say much. I hope this will be the last time we have a probe like this in the history of our country.”
One of the most serious accusations is that South Korea’s spy agency bribed him to the tune of 1.5 million dollars. The agency allegedly funneled money to Lee from a secretive fund through his aides.
There are also allegations that South Korea’s largest conglomerate, the Samsung Group, paid nearly 6 million dollars’ worth of legal bills for an auto parts maker connected to Lee.
Lee is believed to have pardoned the company’s chairman who had been given a suspended sentence for tax evasion.
Local media say the prosecutors could consider seeking an arrest warrant.