Former President Lee Myung Bak is Arrested for Corruption
On Mar. 14, President Lee Myung Bak (MB) was finally summoned on suspicion of possessing illegal slush funds estimated at 10 billion won (a bit less than 10 million dollars). Testimony from former aides are substantiating the suspicions of Lee’s direct involvement.
Broadly speaking, Lee is investigated on three allegations. The first is that Lee had embezzled funds from “DAS,” the car-seat manufacturer believed to be owned by Lee. The second is that he abused his presidential authority for personal gain. Prosecutors uncovered documents proving that Lee had helped DAS recover its investment from investment consulting company “BBK” after the latter had gone bankrupt. The third is that Lee received a bribe when Samsung paid 6 billion won for DAS’s legal costs. The prosecutor also concluded that Lee was involved in the National Intelligence Service Director Won Se-hoon’s embezzlement of 1.7 billion won. Moreover, Lee received 2.2 billion won from the head of a financial company in exchange for a government position and a former National Assembly member gave him 400 million won for his nomination. The alleged bribes total ten billion won.
Government corruption at this scale has deep roots from the period of military dictatorship. However, until now, illegal wealth accumulated by political influence has been immune from investigation or punishment. In this regard, Lee’s investigation has historical significance. On Mar. 23, Lee was finally arrested. Koreas are keeping a close watch on the investigation. After the candlelight revolution, we want to finally root out corruption in our society.