CJ chief claims failing health to get out of jail

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CJ chief claims failing health to get out of jail

The jailed chairman of CJ Group, Lee Jay-hyun, has requested that he temporarily be let out of prison due to health problems.

In a written statement submitted to the court, Lee reportedly said that his chronic renal failure has worsened considerably during his confinement and that he now has to get a kidney transplant. The 53-year-old chairman also cited worsening chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia.

Lee has been transferred from solitary confinement, where he had originally been placed, to a prison hospital ward.

The Seoul Central District Court will soon review the validity of the request and hear the opinions of prosecutors, Lee’s defense team and doctors before making a decision.

Lee is reportedly planning to get a kidney transplant from his wife in September. Both have type O blood.

Lee’s 23-year-old son had reportedly been considered as a possible donor, but the family dropped the idea as the junior Lee could also have a similar kidney malfunction later, as the illness runs in the family.

In an effort to help its chairman, CJ Group released a statement on July 8 saying that Lee has been suffering from chronic renal failure for a long time.

Under the law, when there are reasonable grounds, a court can temporarily release a person from prison and put them in a hospital or under house arrest.

White-collar criminals such as chaebol heads in jail for corruption commonly claim health issues to take advantage of this law.

Lee has been behind bars since July 18 in pretrial detention for alleged tax evasion and corruption reaching into the hundreds of billions of won.

BY KANG JIN-KYU, KIM KI-HWAN [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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