Prosecutors on Thursday demanded 20 years in prison for former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, the most recent of the country’s ex-leaders to be embroiled in a criminal inquiry.
The 76-year-old former CEO turned president – who served from 2008 to 2013 – faces multiple charges including bribery, abuse of power, embezzlement and tax evasion.
Prosecutors in the Seoul court also called for him to pay a total of 26.1 billion won ($23 million) in fines and forfeits.
The case against Lee means all four former South Korean presidents who are still alive have been charged or convicted for criminal offences.
“The accused undermined the tenets of the constitution by taking advantage of his authority as president for his own private gains,” prosecutors said in a statement read at the court.
“Consequently, he became the country’s fourth president to be arrested for criminal offences, leaving indelible marks on the constitutional history.”
Lee has been accused of accepting a total of some 11 billion won ($10.2 million) in bribes between late 2007 when he was elected president and 2012, according to prosecutors’ documents.
The case against Lee also includes claims that the Samsung Group bought a presidential pardon in 2009 for its chairman Lee Kun-hee, who had been convicted of tax evasion.
Both Samsung and Lee have denied the allegations.
The money that prosecutors claim Lee took includes 1.7 billion won in secret funds siphoned off from the country’s spy agency and some 3.5 billion won received in return for favors, from people including business figures, a politician and a Buddhist monk.
Separately, the prosecutors claim Lee embezzled 35 billion won over 12 years between 1994 and 2006 from DAS, an auto parts company which prosecutors claim Lee owns in his relatives’ names.
Lee has dismissed what prosecutors say are “incriminating” documents and testimony from his relatives and aides as “fabrications.”
The verdict and sentence will be handed down on October 5.
Source: Global Times