Former President Lee shows up to be questioned by prosecutors

Former President Lee shows up to be questioned by prosecutors

Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak faces prosecutors Wednesday for an intensive questioning session over various allegations of bribery and irregularities during his years in office.

The former president, who was in office from 2008-2013, is suspected of being the real owner of DAS, which on paper belongs to his elder brother, Lee Sang-eun.

The 77-year-old appeared at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office at 9:30 a.m.

In return for the legal fee offer, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee is believed to have bought a presidential pardon in 2009 when the Samsung chairman, now in hospital, had got a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion.

Lee has denied all charges levied on him. Before a swarm of media crews, he apologized to the public and expressed a veiled regret about the probe.

"I am standing here today with a devastated heart".

"I have much to say as a former president, but I keep telling myself I should refrain from saying much", he added. "All I wish for is that this will be the last time in history" that a former president is being investigated. Moon, who was Roh's chief of staff, previously called the Roh investigation by the Lee government politically motivated.

They will question him about allegations that he pushed Samsung to pay US legal fees for DAS, an auto parts company nominally owned by his brother on his behalf, and if he received illicit money from the National Intelligence Service while in office.

Lee's former secretary for political affairs Kim Hyo-jae told reporters on Tuesday that the investigation is an act of political retaliation.

He was to be interrogated by three prosecutors and Yonhap news agency said the questioning - which will be videotaped - was expected to last around 20 hours, with prosecutors having prepared around 120 pages of questions relating to some 20 alleged offenses.

Prosecutors will also question him on whether he owns DAS.

The prosecution office and police beefed up security around the perimeter to prevent any possible clash.

Before he entered the prosecutors' office, Lee announced to reporters that he is in a "position of awful discomfort today".

Former conservative President Park Geun-hye, Lee's successor, was removed from office previous year for an influence-peddling scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.

Former Presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo stood trial in the mid-1990s for corruption and mutiny charges for staging a 1979 military coup before they were pardoned in 1997 by then-President Kim Young-sam. Roh killed himself in 2009 during a probe that his family received bribes.

Former President Lee Myung-bak reads out his statement before he goes into the prosecution office building on March 14, 2018, as he is set to be questioned over a string of corruption allegations.

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