S Korea prosecutors seek arrest warrant for ex-President Lee

Lee reportedly spent more than 21 hours at the prosecutors office in Seoul from Wednesday morning

Prosecutors on Monday requested an arrest warrant for former President Lee Myung-bak, who is suspected of 20 criminal charges including bribery, embezzlement and power abuse.

Lee's conservative successor, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office and jailed previous year in a separate corruption scandal.

Lee, who was in office from 2008 to 2013, is suspected of taking about 11 billion won ($10.3 million) in bribes from the state intelligence agency, businesses and others.

"Each of the charges is enough to arrest and hold him in custody".

In a 21-hour-long interrogation session that started Wednesday, Lee flatly denied his involvement in the wrongdoings, saying he was not aware of the incidents and that testimonies and evidence gathered by the prosecution have been fabricated.

About 18 counts of corruption, including bribery, embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion, were levied against Lee who was summoned by prosecutors last week for questioning.

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Investigators believe the former president received around $186,600 from Ji Kwang, a monk in charge of one of Korea's biggest monasteries, in return for "accommodating the establishment of a Buddhist university", JoongAng Ilbo reported.

The case resurfaced in February when former Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo confessed that his company helped pay $3.7 million in legal fees to Akin Gump for the US law firm's work done on behalf of DAS, a vehicle parts maker that the prosecution believed was actually controlled by Lee Myung-bak instead of its listed owner, Lee Sang-eun, the former president's brother.

Prosecutors are also investigating Lee's wife, Kim Yoon-ok, on suspicion that she accepted about £660,000 in bribes from sources including the national intelligence service.

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. He has denied the allegations, contending they are political revenge against him by the current liberal government of President Moon Jae-in.

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