SEOUL, March 6 (UPI) — South Korea’s former president Lee Myung-bak has been summoned by prosecutors, over multiple allegations of bribery and misconduct during his 2009 to 2013 presidential term.
Th prosecution said Tuesday that Lee is set to appear as a suspect next Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, JoongAng Ilbo reported.
The former conservative leader is believed to be the main culprit behind a major bribery scandal involving the country’s spy agency.
Prosecutors suspect Lee ordered the National Intelligence Agency to funnel $1.6 million to his office through his closest aides, some of whom have already been arrested.
Former NIS officials have testified the agency’s funds were delivered under orders from the top office.
The former president is also believed to have taken at least $9 million in kickbacks from some of the countries largest firms including Woori Finance Holdings and Samsung Electronics.
Some $5.5 million from Samsung Electronics allegedly funded retainer fees and lawsuit proceedings for an auto part company called DAS, which Lee holds no shares in but has long been suspected of owning and using to hide his assets.
DAS is also under investigation for creating a secret slush fund of at least $9 million, which Lee is believed to involved in.
Former presidential secretaries, officials and businessmen in Lee’s inner circle have already been summoned and questioned by the prosecution over the web of criminal charges.
Prosecutors now say a “face-to-face questioning session with Lee is crucial to uncover the truth transparently and effectively.”
If Lee complies with the investigation, the 76-year-old would become the fourth president in the country’s history to be summoned by state investigators, following former presidents Roh Tae-woo, Roh Moo-hyun and Park Geun-hye.
Yonhap reported that investigators may request an arrest warrant to interrogate the former president should he strongly deny the charges.