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5. Ex-Pres. Lee Myung-bak Sentenced to 15 Yrs. in Prison on Corruption Charges


The government’s efforts to eradicate corruption and irregularities continued in 2018.

Such efforts, which had focused on the Park Geun-hye administration in 2017, were placed on the Lee Myung-bak administration this year.

Prosecutors launched a probe on the former president with the main focus on allegations that Lee was the actual owner of his brother's auto parts company DAS. Such allegation had first surfaced when Lee was a presidential candidate in 2007.

With the prosecutors strengthening their probe, Lee, who was president from 2008 to 2013, claimed that the investigation was a "political vendetta" by the liberal Moon Jae-in administration over the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun.

However, with his close aides turning their back on him and former DAS officials testifying, Lee was put behind bars in March over a string of corruption charges.

He was indicted in April on 16 charges, including bribery, abuse of power, embezzlement, breach of trust, tax evasion and violations of the election and presidential record laws. Prosecutors believe Lee received some eleven billion won in kickbacks and embezzled 35 billion won through DAS.

After five months of deliberation, the Seoul Central District Court in October sentenced Lee to 15 years in prison after concluding that he was the real owner of DAS. The court also ordered a fine of 13 billion and the forfeiture of eight-point-two billion won.
The former president appealed the court ruling, continuously denying all charges against him. His appeal trial is currently under way.

Photo : Yonhap News, KBS News

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