STORE

Another former South Korean leader charged with corruption

Lee Myung-bak
The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Former President Lee Myung-bak was indicted on bribery, embezzlement and other charges Monday, becoming the latest South Korean leader arrested or entangled in scandals at the close of their terms or after leaving office.

Lee’s indictment came three days after his successor Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 24 years in prison for a separate corruption scandal.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement that it charged Lee with taking a total of 11 billion won ($10 million) in bribes from the country’s spy agency, Samsung and others.

Lee has also been charged with embezzling about 35 billion won ($33 million) of official funds from a private company he owned and evading corporate taxes totaling 3 billion won ($281,270), according to the prosecutors’ office.

Lee was a Hyundai executive and a Seoul mayor before serving as president from 2008-2013.

He has been at a Seoul detention center since his arrest last month. Lee has previously accused the current liberal government of President Moon Jae-in of retaliating over the 2009 death of Moon’s friend, liberal ex-President Roh Moo-hyun, who leapt to his death during a corruption investigation of his family.

Park, South Korea’s first female president, has also called herself a victim of “political revenge.” She’s been refusing to attend court sessions since last October and didn’t show up for Friday’s verdict, citing an unspecified sickness.

Lee has also been refusing to undergo questioning since his March 22 arrest.

South Korea has taken a series of steps aimed at rooting out corruption in recent years, but high-profile graft scandals involving politicians and business leaders often occur.

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