Prosecutors raid properties of Lee’s former aides in corruption probe

SEOUL, Prosecutors on Monday raided the properties of two aides of former President Lee Myung-bak over their suspected involvement in bribery allegations against the ex-leader.

Investigators from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office searched the homes and offices of Chun Shin-il, chairman of Sejoong, a local travel and logistics company; and Choi See-joong, former head of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the state broadcasting and telecom watchdog, the prosecution said.

The prosecutor's office later said Chun and Choi are undergoing questioning.

They are suspected of raising illegal campaign funds from the private sector in the run-up to and after the 2008 presidential election and delivering them to another aide of Lee's.

Prosecutors believe they played key roles in delivering some 2.2 billion won (US$2.03 million) from Lee Pal-seung, former chief of Woori Finance Holdings Co., between 2007 and 2011 in return for the top seat at the then state-controlled lender.

They are also accused of involvement in the transfer of illicit money from a chief of a local construction and expressway operator and from a former lawmaker, the prosecution said.

The 75-year-old Chun has been a friend of the former president's since college and is known to have been one of Lee's closest aides throughout his presidential campaign.

Choi, 81, has been dubbed Lee's "mentor." He was tapped to head the KCC in 2008 and retained his post for most of Lee's presidency.

The raids come as part of a widening probe into a string of corruption allegations against the former president, who ruled from 2009-2013.

It is widely expected the prosecution will summon him soon for questioning over the allegations.

The former president also faces suspicions that he is the hidden owner of a lucrative local auto parts maker, DAS, which on paper belongs to his eldest brother, and exerted behind-the-scenes influence over management.

He is also implicated in 1.75 billion-won bribery allegations linked to the state spy agency, among other series of suspected corruption.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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