Ex-S.Korean president Lee arrested

Sergio Conner
March 23, 2018

The former president arrived at the Seoul Eastern Detention Center in Songpa-gu District, southeastern Seoul in the early hours of Friday morning, less than an hour after the Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant against him.

A South Korea court issued an arrest warrant for ex-President Lee Myung-bak on corruption charges Thursday, Yonhap news agency reported, days after he faced a marathon interrogation by prosecutors.

"I feel that this is all my fault, and I feel a sense of guilt", Myung-Bak wrote in a handwritten note posted late Thursday on Facebook.

The prosecution submitted 80,000 pages as evidence for the criminal charges.

"With my arrest, I just hope the suffering faced by my family members and those who worked easily somewhat", he said.

Lee, 76, could be hit with more than a dozen charges related to the period leading up to his 2007 presidential election victory and subsequent years in office.

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The allegations against him include bribery of some 11 billion won ($10.3 million) from the state spy agency, individuals and conglomerates, such as Samsung.

The conservative ex-leader has denounced the investigation as "political revenge" by his rivals. They allege he also used a private company as a channel to establish illicit slush funds totaling 35 billion won ($33 million), embezzled its official funds and evaded taxes.

Lee is the fourth South Korean president to be arrested.

Lee denied owning DAS under questioning last week, dismissing what prosecutors say are "incriminating" documents and testimony from Lee's relatives and aides as "fabrications". Park Geun Hye, his successor from the same conservative party, was removed from office previous year after she was impeached over a corruption scandal that engulfed the entire country from late 2016.

For the bribes he received he should receive at least a 11-year prison sentence, prosecutors argued. This also marks the first time in 23 years that two ex-presidents are detained at the same time.

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