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Lee’s family, associates likely to face chargesBy Kim So-hyun
Published : March 23, 2018 - 16:08
Prosecutors suspect some of Lee’s family members were involved in the delivery of 2.26 billion won ($2.1 million) in kickbacks from Lee Pal-seung, who headed Woori Finance Holdings from 2008 to 2013, to the former president, and stated them as accomplices of bribery in the request for Lee’s arrest warrant.
Lee’s elder brother and former lawmaker Lee Sang-deuk is accused of receiving 1.93 billion won of the illicit funds from Lee Pal-seung before and after the presidential election in 2007. Prosecutors see the money as illicit political funds as well as bribes.
Prosecutors also suspect the former president’s wife Kim Yoon-ok and son-in-law Lee Sang-joo played a role in receiving 300 million won from Lee Pal-seung in 2011.
The ex-president’s family has also been investigated over management irregularities at DAS, an auto parts manufacturer through which he allegedly amassed and managed slush funds.
When prosecutors indicted Lee Byung-mo, executive secretary of the Cheonggye Foundation, for embezzling money from a DAS subsidiary and a partner firm of DAS among other charges, they stated the former president’s son and DAS Executive Lee Si-hyung as an accomplice of breach of trust.
The ex-president’s nephew and Vice President of DAS Lee Dong-hyung was indicted without detention last month on charges of accepting illicit funds from a subcontractor.
Prosecutors also investigated the former president’s closest associates for playing a role in receiving illegal funds or in the management irregularities at DAS.
Choi See-joong, former head of the Korea Communications Commission; Chun Shin-il, the former president’s college friend and chairman of a travel company Sejoong; former Vice Minister of Knowledge Economy Park Young-joon; and chief of Cheonggye Foundation Song Jung-ho have been grilled for allegedly receiving illicit funds for Lee.
Lee’s former Presidential Secretary for Administrative Affairs Kim Paik-joon, Lee Byung-mo and chief of a DAS subcontractor Lee Young-bae are already standing trial.
Not all of the implicated family members and associates may be put on trial, but many of them are likely to be indicted for taking part in breaking the law.
The prosecution, however, has been cautious about interrogating or indicting Kim Yoon-ok. If they decide to question her, they are likely to do it quietly without telling the press.
The former first lady has been accused of taking $100,000 from an audit-free “special activities” account of the National Intelligence Service. Her husband has reportedly told prosecutors that he received the money and used it for a North Korea-related project led by his office and the NIS, without revealing further details.
Kim is also suspected of using a corporate credit card of DAS to purchase about 400 million won worth of goods from department stores and duty-free shops from the mid-1990s to 2007. She has also been accused of receiving an Hermes bag from a New York-based businesswoman months before the 2007 presidential election. Lee’s camp allegedly covered it up with the help of another businesswoman by promising her business favors in return.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com)
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