Korea prosecutors seek arrest of ex-president Lee


The wife of embattled former President Lee Myung-bak is expected to face a summons or questioning from prosecutors soon, as suspicions have arisen that she was involved in Lee's acceptance of illegal money and other alleged illegalities during his presidency, prosecution sources said Saturday.

Lee returned home Thursday after lengthy questioning as he became the last of the country's living ex-leaders to be embroiled in a criminal inquiry. The court could reportedly decide on the request Wednesday night.

If arrested, Lee, a conservative who governed from 2008 to 2013, would be the fourth surviving South Korean leader to be entangled in corruption allegations before leaving office or in the years afterward.

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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. She became the first South Korean president to be impeached in December 2016 and prosecutors last month asked for her to be sentenced to 30 years in prison for accepting £15m in bribes.

He denied most corruption charges but admitted taking the off-book funds from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) via a presidential aide, Yonhap news agency said Thursday, citing a prosecution official.

Lee spent more than 21 hours at the prosecutors' office in Seoul from Wednesday morning, and did not reply to questions from journalists outside as he left.

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Prosecutors had reportedly been pitching strongly for an arrest warrant in light of the seriousness of the case and concerns that Lee could attempt to destroy evidence or manipulate witnesses, as he denies most of the charges.

The probe means that all four living former South Korean presidents have been convicted, charged, or investigated for criminal offences.

Kim is also suspected of using a corporate credit card of auto parts manufacturer DAS to buy about 400 million won worth of goods from department stores and duty-free shops from the mid-1990s to 2007. The current South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, accused Lee of targeting Roh in an effort to discredit liberal politicians.

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She also faces suspicion she received an Hermes bag containing $30,000 from a US -based Korean businesswoman months before the 2007 presidential election.