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President’s relative investigated for fraud

A relative of President Lee Myung-bak is being investigated on charges of fraud and investment in illegal gaming operations with vast sums of money, police officials said Wednesday.

The latest scandal comes amid numerous investigations into Lee’s aides, prompting him to call for unsparing investigations of his associates in the eleventh-hour.

According to Wonju Police Station in Gangwon Province, the case involves the younger brother of first lady Kim Yoon-ok’s brother-in-law on her sister’s side, only disclosed to the media by his surname Hwang.

The case was referred to prosecutors for further investigation earlier this month.

The 65-year-old is suspected of swindling an associate in Wonju, only identified by his surname Park, from July 2010 to March 2011, for a total of 70 million won ($59,600).

Hwang is also charged with using borrowed money to invest in an illegal arcade which was raided.

A police investigation found that Hwang had met Park in Wonju, boasting that Hwang has a close relationship with Lee, and borrowed the money through four separate installments.

After Hwang failed to repay the money, Park filed a report with the police in July.

“Hwang repaid a portion of the debt, and used another portion to set up some real estate among other things and has negotiated terms with the victim,” said a police official. “It is likely that he will be booked without detention by prosecutors and be slapped with a fine.”

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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