Jailed former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was granted bail today, nearly a year after he was arrested over corruption charges. The CEO-turned president who served from 2008 to 2013, was found guilty on charges including bribery and embezzlement.
Although he was sentenced to 15 years in prison last October,the Seoul High Court approved his request for bail made on grounds of ill health. Lee was found guilty of creating slush funds of tens of millions of dollars and accepting bribes from Samsung Electronics in return for a presidential pardon for its chairman Lee Kun-hee, who was jailed for tax evasion.
Seoul High Court approved the Jan. 29 request for bail that Lee made on the grounds of deteriorating health and other reasons. The court ordered him to stay only in his registered residence and meet or communicate only with his immediate family members and legal representatives.
Lee, president from 2008-2013, had been in detention pending his appeal of a 15-year prison sentence after he was convicted of bribery, embezzlement and other charges on Oct. 5 last year. The court found that Lee was the actual owner of his brother’s auto parts company and that he used his presidential power to benefit the firm and himself, including accepting a 5.9 billion-won (US$5.2 million) bribe from Samsung.
The conservative politician has denied wrongdoing and labelled the allegations as political revenge. Lee’s successor, Park Geun-hye, was also sentenced to 25 years in prison and fined millions of dollars for bribery and abuse of power. She was ousted in 2017 over a nationwide corruption scandal that prompted massive street protests.