MB’s brother egged by protestors at Seoul court

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MB’s brother egged by protestors at Seoul court

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An angry protestor who lost deposits during the suspension of savings banks pulls the necktie of Lee Sang-deuk, who appears at the Seoul Central District Court for a hearing on a pre-trial detention warrant yesterday. By Kim Do-hoon


Lee Sang-deuk, the elder brother of President Lee Myung-bak, appeared in court yesterday as the prosecution sought pre-trial detention over charges of receiving bribes from ailing savings banks.

Some 20 people who lost their deposits during the regulatory suspensions approached the former six-term lawmaker of the Saenuri Party on his way to the court, hurling eggs at the 77-year-old. One protestor grabbed his collar and demanded Lee give back his money.

Security guards rushed the president’s brother into the Seoul Central District Court at 10:30 a.m. Protestors remained outside the court during the proceeding, shouting slogans and demanding the court detain the elder Lee.

Without answering any questions from reporters, Lee asked his lawyer, “How could [the court] fail to control them?”

After questioning Lee last week, the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office applied Friday for a pre-trial detention warrant on charges of violating the political funding law and receiving bribes.

The prosecution said Lee received about 600 million won ($524,476) from Lim Suk, chairman of Solomon Savings Bank, and Kim Chan-kyong, chairman of Mirae Savings Bank, from shortly before the December presidential election in 2007 to last year.

The two savings banks were shut down earlier this year.

Prosecutors also accused Lee of receiving some 150 million won from textile manufacturer Kolon Group, his former employer.

During the questioning, Lee denied the charges, claiming that the money was given to support him without anything in return.

The court was expected to make a decision on Lee’s detention late last night.

Meanwhile, Representative Chung Doo-un, a senior ruling party lawmaker, accused of being an accomplice in the alleged scandal, pleaded his innocence on the eve of the National Assembly’s voting on a motion to grant his arrest.

Chung issued a press release yesterday to speak out on his position on the National Assembly’s plan to vote on a motion to grant the prosecution’s request to detain him for an investigation into the graft scandal. The representative was accused of receiving money from Solomon Savings Bank’s Lim and introducing the president’s brother to the banker.

“I strongly believe that the prosecution’s probe is not based on clear evidence, but based on political motives,” Chung said. “That’s why I won’t hide behind the political shield of the legislature, but will stand in a warrant hearing, plead innocent and fight the prosecution.”

Chung said he has fully cooperated with the prosecution, but it still applied for the warrant although he is not a flight risk.

He also said he has denied all the charges, but the prosecution still accused him of bribery based on the testimonies of Lim, chairman of Solomon Savings Bank, and Lee.

“I admit that it was a mistake to introduce Lim to Lee, rather than sending him away,” Chung said. “But I will fight for the truth against the unjust investigation with a predetermined conclusion.”

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr ]

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