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(LEAD) Ex-PM gets suspended jail term for bribery

All News 15:41 January 29, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS photo, reaction from Lee in para 7, more details)

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's former Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo received an 8-month jail term Friday for receiving bribes from a deceased businessman.

Still, the Seoul Central District Court suspended the sentence for two years and ordered him to forfeit 30 million won (US$27,000).

Lee, who stepped down in April after mounting suspicion, was convicted of taking 30 million won at his election office in April 2013 from Sung Wan-jong, the late chairman of construction firm Keangnam Enterprises Inc.

"The authenticity of the recorded interview of Sung Wan-jong and credibility of statements made by secretaries can all be accepted," the court said.

A corruption scandal flared up after Sung left a note and a recorded interview claiming that he gave money to eight politicians, including Lee and Hong Joon-pyo, governor of South Gyeongsang Province, as well as President Park Geun-hye's former and current chiefs of staff.

Prosecutors indicted Lee and Hong in July 2015 while not prosecuting the others, citing a lack of evidence and the statute of limitations.

"The justice department accepted every single claim made by the prosecutors, but I am innocent," Lee told reporters after the ruling was delivered, adding he will appeal.

Sung hanged himself on April 9 just hours before a court hearing that would have determined the legality of his arrest regarding his embezzlement charges.


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