CJ chairman let out of jail to get a new kidney

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CJ chairman let out of jail to get a new kidney

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Lee Jay-hyun

CJ Group Chairman Lee Jay-hyun, who is currently in jail for corruption and tax evasion on a massive scale, has been let out of prison to get a kidney transplant.

The Seoul Central District Court said yesterday that it has decided to release the 53-year-old chief of the nation’s 14th-largest conglomerate for three months, from Aug. 29 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 28, to give him time to treat his chronic illness. He will only be allowed to stay in his residence in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, or the Seoul National University Hospital, where he will have the procedure.

“We judged that Lee needs to have a kidney transplant as soon as possible when we considered the opinion of his doctor,” the court told the media yesterday. “He also needs quarantine treatment for about three months after the surgery.”

After the court made the decision yesterday, Lee was immediately released from the Seoul Detention Center in Uiwang, Gyeonggi. He will have surgery on Aug. 29. The donor is his 53-year-old wife, Kim Hee-jae.

Lee had been locked up at the prison since July 18, after he was indicted for allegedly creating slush funds of 620 billion won ($550.5 million), evading taxes and embezzling CJ funds to the tune of some 200 billion won.

On Aug. 8, Lee requested to be let out temporarily due to health problems, stating that his chronic renal failure had worsened considerably during his confinement and that he now required a kidney transplant.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office suspects that the chairman gathered illicit wealth through CJ shell companies in the British Virgin Islands and then invested some of those funds in company stock.

“The funds were used to increase Lee’s personal fortune,” prosecutors said.


BY Kim ki-hwan, Kwon sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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