Prosecutors requested a court warrant on Friday to arrest Lee Hyun-dong, former head of the National Tax Service, for suspected involvement in the state spy agency's secret operation against the late President Kim Dae-jung during the previous Lee Myung-bak government.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office accuses Lee of taking tens of millions of won from the National Intelligence Service in 2010 to carry out the operation aimed at uncovering a Kim slush fund rumored to be hidden overseas. The former NTS commissioner was questioned by the prosecution twice over the past two weeks.
Such a provision of NIS funds to the tax agency is illegal, as the money had been specifically allotted for North Korea-related intelligence operations.
Lee headed the NTS from 2010-2013. He was a deputy commissioner at the tax agency when he allegedly received the NIS funds.
The covert NIS operation, apparently code-named "Davidson," centered on suspicions that the late president had stashed a slush fund offshore -- suspicions that later proved groundless after a two-year probe. Kim died in 2009.
|Lee Hyun-dong, former National Tax Service commissioner, arrives on Wednesday at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors` Office for questioning over suspected involvement in a covert NIS operation. (Yonhap)|
Prosecutors plan to find out if Lee received any instructions from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae regarding the operation before he took part in it.
He is considered one of many influential figures with close ties to former President Lee Myung-bak's government. He worked for the former president's transition team and was later dispatched to the presidential finance and economy office. (Yonhap)