Team conducts raids over Lee’s retirement home

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Team conducts raids over Lee’s retirement home

The team of special independent prosecutors that is investigating President Lee Myung-bak’s retirement home project has raided the house and office of Lee Sang-eun, 79, the president’s older brother, and Si-hyung, the president’s 34-year-old son.

At 10 a.m. yesterday, the special investigation team entered the president’s brother’s house in Guui-dong, Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, and his office at Das Corporation, where Lee is the chairman, in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang.

The team also raided the house and office of the president’s son and two real estate agencies simultaneously that engaged in the land purchase in Naegok-dong, southern Seoul, where the president’s retirement home and auxiliaries were projected to be built.

In May last year, the Presidential Security Service purchased land in Naegok-dong, southern Seoul, worth 5.4 billion won ($4.8 million).

Of the total, 1.12 billion won was paid for by the president’s son as portions of the land were purchased under the son’s name, but it was suspected that the son might have paid less than his share and the taxpayers paid more.

Allegedly, 600 million won of the 1.1 billion won that Si-hyung paid was lent to him by the president’s brother. The investigation team wants to find out the source of the funds.

Si-hyung is an official of Das Corporation.

“The raid was conducted in order to secure necessary documents and records that could lead us to trace the source of the funds used in the land purchase,” Lee Chang-hoon, a spokesman for the investigation team told reporters.

The investigation team however did not raid the office of the Presidential Security Service, which led the land purchase, but notified three presidential security service officials, including Kim Tae-hwan, who have managed paperwork, to appear at the investigation team’s office in Seocho-dong today for a probe.

The investigation team also received a court issued warrant for investigating bank accounts that were used by the president’s family and other related people.

The investigation team said they are trying to get connected with the land owner surnamed Yoo, 56, who headed to the U.S. on May 12.

By Shim Sae-rom, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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