South Korean prosecutors seek arrest warrant for ex-President Lee: Yonhap

Lee Youn-taek arrives at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Sunday

Lee Youn-taek arrives at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Sunday

South Korean prosecutors asked a court on Monday to issue an arrest warrant for former president Lee Myung-bak.

"Each accusation he faces is a significant offence that requires formal arrest", Yonhap and multiple other media quoted an unidentified senior prosecutor as saying.

As he denied most charges against him during a questioning session last week, prosecutors have reportedly said they will inevitably have to seek an arrest warrant, Chosun Ilbo reported.

Lee's predecessor Park Geun-Hye is now in jail pending a verdict in her bribery trial after being impeached past year over a corruption scandal.

The prosecution also said in the warrant request that Lee established DAS in 1985 under a borrowed name with a capital of 396 million won, which was all paid by him. A prosecutor said "nothing has been decided", which is usually code for yes. "I hope that I will be the last former president to stand here".

He is accused of accepting bribes from Samsung in exchange for a pardon for the company's chairman. He's also accused of using false names to hide his ownership of the auto parts company DAS, which he allegedly used to accumulate slush funds worth almost 30 million dollars. He reportedly then had Samsung pay the company's legal fees.

In the warrant request, investigators pointed to Lee as the real owner of an auto company named DAS, which he has always been suspected of owning and controlling to hide his assets and create secret slush funds.

The National Intelligence Service, the country's spy agency, is believed to have delivered secret operation fund as bribes to Lee's office at his behest through his closest aides, some of whom already admitted the allegation.

The conservative former president denies all the allegations.

Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, former army generals who served through the 1980s to early 1990s, served jail terms in the 1990s for corruption and treason after leaving office.

Roh Moo-hyun was not formally charged, but committed suicide in 2009 after being questioned by prosecutors on allegations of graft.

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