S.Korean prosecutors seek warrant to arrest ex-President Lee Myung-bak

South Korea's former president Lee Myung-bak arrives at the prosecutors' office in Seoul, South Korea, March 14, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - South Korean prosecutors on Monday requested an arrest warrant on former President Lee Myung-bak over a series of corruption charges.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office called for a Seoul court to issue a warrant to arrest Lee, who served out his five-year presidential term through early 2013, according to local media reports.

About 18 counts of corruption, including bribery, embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion, were levied against Lee who was summoned by prosecutors last week for questioning. The court could reportedly decide on the request Wednesday night.

The prosecution office said Lee denied almost all of the wrongdoings, and even basic facts found through probe.

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

Samsung is alleged to have paid $5 million of retaining fee, on Lee's behalf, in the United States for DAS, a South Korean auto parts maker which prosecutors said Lee owns under the names of his relatives.

DAS is under investigation for embezzlement, tax evasion and the creation of slush fund, which is believed to have been funneled into Lee for his presidential campaign.

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, currently in hospital, got a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion.

The National Intelligence Service, the country's spy agency, is believed to have delivered secret operation fund as bribes to Lee's office at his behest through his closest aides, some of whom already admitted the allegation.

Lee is also suspected of dodging taxes through accounting fraud in DAS and by owning real estate assets and bank deposits under borrowed names.


football-silicone-bracelets