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Appeals court raises prison term for ex-President Lee Myung-bak, bail canceled

All News 15:09 February 19, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- An appellate court on Wednesday delivered a heavier prison term of 17 years to former President Lee Myung-bak on bribery and embezzlement charges, and ordered the cancellation of bail permitted to him.

The prison term is higher than the 15 years of imprisonment that a lower court handed down in October 2018 to Lee who ruled the country from 2008-2013.

The Seoul High Court also decided to lift the bail on Lee, bringing him back into custody. In March 2019, Lee was released on bail on health concerns.

The 78-year-old Lee was charged with bribery and embezzlement in connection with his brother's auto parts company DAS, becoming the fourth ex-South Korean leader to be criminally convicted.

The appeals court also ordered him to pay a fine of 13 billion won (US$10.9 million) and forfeit 5.78 billion won.

In January, the prosecution demanded a 23-year prison term for Lee, condemning him for not repenting for his wrongdoings and blaming others to avoid responsibility.

A lower court found that Lee was the de facto owner of DAS and that he used his presidential power to benefit the firm and himself.

The appellate court found that Lee embezzled 25.2 billion won from DAS and accepted bribes totaling 9.4 billion won, including 8.9 billion won from Samsung.

These amounts were higher than the embezzlement of 24.6 billion won and bribes worth 8.5 billion won that a lower court recognized.

Throughout his political career, Lee was dogged by suspicions over whether he is the real owner of DAS.

Lee has flatly denied the allegations, repeating his claim that he is not the owner of DAS.

Former President Lee Myung-bak heads to a Seoul court on Jan. 8, 2020, to attend a hearing in which prosecutors demanded a 23-year jail term on bribery and embezzlement charges. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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