Former prime minister guilty of taking money

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Former prime minister guilty of taking money

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Former Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo walks out of the Seoul Central District Court on Friday after the court convicted him of illegally accepting money from Sung Wan-jong, the former chairman of Keangnam Enterprises whose suicide touched off a massive payoff scandal in April last year. [KIM SANG-SEON]

Former Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo was convicted Friday of illegally accepting money from Sung Wan-jong, the former chairman of Keangnam Enterprises.

Sung touched off a political firestorm after he committed suicide on April 9, 2015, leaving behind a note that implicated eight high-profile politicians in a massive payoff scandal.

Lee was one of the eight politicians whose names were in the note.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Lee to eight months in jail, suspended for two years, and fined him 30 million won ($25,210) for violating the Political Fund Act.

Lee was indicted in July 2015 for receiving 30 million won from Sung, who visited Lee’s campaign office on April 4, 2013, in Buyeo, South Chungcheong. Lee denied the charge, arguing that no one had witnessed him accepting money.

But the court accepted as credible evidence the note Sung left behind and a statement Sung made to a Kyunghyang Sinmun reporter over the phone on the morning he committed suicide.

Sung told the reporter that he gave Lee 30 million won.

The court acknowledged that Sung met with Lee based on Sung’s calendar for the day and a record of Lee’s messages with his aides over Kakao Talk, a mobile chatting application.

BY SUH POK-HYUN [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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