Court grants freeze on ex-President Lee’s assets

SEOUL, A Seoul court approved Wednesday the prosecution's request to freeze assets of former President Lee Myung-bak, who has been charged for corruption.

The Seoul Central District Court said the decision forbids Lee from making any form of asset transaction, such as selling of properties, until the court reaches a verdict.

Prosecutors lodged the request with the court last week to put on hold his assets worth 11.1 billion won (US$10.4 million), the same as the amount of bribes he is accused of receiving, mostly from the spy agency and businesses.

Lee, president from 2008-2013, was arrested last month and indicted last Monday on 16 charges involving bribery, abuse of power and embezzlement. He is South Korea's fourth former president to be arrested and put on trial for corruption.

He has been accused of taking bribes totaling about 11.1 billion won, including 700 million won from the state intelligence service and $5.85 million in lawsuit expenses paid by Samsung Electronics on behalf of a car parts firm Lee is suspected of owning.

Other bribes Lee has been accused of receiving include 2.25 billion won from Lee Pal-seung, a former chief of Woori Finance Holdings Co.; 500 million won from Daebo Group, a Seoul-based operator of expressway rest stops; and 400 million won from former lawmaker Kim So-nam.

Prosecutors have also concluded that Lee is the real owner of the car parts firm, DAS. Lee is suspected of embezzling about 35 billion won from the company and using the money for political and personal purposes.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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