Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former President Lee Myung-bak sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption

Former President Lee Myung-bak sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former President Lee Myung-bak. Yonhap

Former President Lee Myung-bak sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption

The Korea Herald/ANN: Former President Lee Myung-bak was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday, over a series of corruption charges including abuse of power and embezzlement.

The Seoul Central District Court also ordered a fine of 13 billion won ($11.5 million) and the forfeiture of 8.27 billion won. Prosecutors had demanded 20 years in jail, a 15 billion won fine and the forfeiture of 11.1 billion won against Lee.

“As a president who was given great authority from the people, he had the responsibility to use his power according to the Constitution and for the people,” the court said.

“But from the trials we found that Lee had embezzled some 24.6 billion won via DAS over a long period of time. Considering that he was serving as a lawmaker and Seoul mayor during the period, his misconduct should be taken seriously.”

The court also said it was not appropriate for Lee to continue denying his charges, as concrete evidence was found to back the allegations. Lee had been pushing liability to his aides and subordinates, saying they committed the crimes for their own benefit and are slandering him.

Lee was in office from 2008 to 2013. He was indicted in April over 16 charges, including bribery and embezzlement.

The sentencing hearing was televised live, as the court had granted approval Tuesday, citing that it was in consideration of public interest and that people had the right to know.

But Lee was not present at the hearing. He claimed that poor health conditions prevented him from doing so.

Regarding the long-disputed ownership of the controversial DAS, an auto parts maker, the court concluded that Lee is the actual owner and that he had ordered his aides to amass slush funds. The auto parts manufacturer is owned by Lee’s eldest brother Lee Sang-eun on paper. However, the prosecution had suspected the former president used DAS to amass slush funds totaling some 34.9 billion won from 1994 to 2006.

The court, however, found Lee guilty of embezzling slush funds worth 24 billion won.

Lee has been denying the allegations, saying he does not own any shares of the auto parts company. In his final statement on Sept. 6, he said the house he lives in is the only asset he has.

Lee was accused of receiving about 11.1 billion won in bribes from the state spy agency, individuals and businesses.

The prosecutors suspected the bribes included $5 million in litigation fees that Samsung allegedly paid on behalf of the auto parts maker between 2007 and 2009, as a kickback to the former president in return for the pardoning of Samsung’s former Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

The court confirmed that the former president received the kickback from Samsung. Other convictions include the abuse of power and violation of the election law.

The court, however dismissed the prosecution’s charge that Lee violated the act on the management of presidential archives. Lee was suspected of hiding some presidential documents regarding DAS, when his presidential term ended.

Lee has been detained since March 23 at the Seoul Dongbu Detention Center.

Early Friday, former National Police Agency Commissioner-General Cho Hyun-oh was arrested for abusing his authority and ordering some 1,500 police officers to post online comments on social affairs favorable to former President Lee, from January 2010 to April 2012.

The Seoul court granted the arrest warrant, citing concerns over destruction of evidence. Cho is the first among top police chiefs to be arrested during a police investigation and to be detained in the police station.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,