MB’s nephew faces probe on slush fund allegations

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MB’s nephew faces probe on slush fund allegations

A nephew of former President Lee Myung-bak appeared for questioning Wednesday over his involvement in the alleged creation of a slush fund by a local auto parts maker run by his family.

Lee Dong-hyung, vice president of DAS, arrived at the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office around 10 a.m. He was officially summoned Tuesday.

The son of Lee Sang-eun, eldest brother of the former president, is suspected of engaging in the making and running of a 12 billion won ($11 million) secret fund, apparently for his uncle, which the prosecution believes has been managed under dozens of fake names.

“I’ll earnestly answer the questions,” Lee told reporters.

Lee Dong-hyung is the largest shareholder of IM, a partner firm of DAS. Investigators raided the company last week over the suspicions.

Wednesday’s interrogation came as prosecutors close in on the former president and his family over alleged corruption and irregularities.

Prosecutors have also called in Lee Sang-deuk, a veteran politician and the ex-president’s second eldest brother, to face questioning on Wednesday over allegedly taking bribes from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Lee, 83, asked for a rescheduling of the date citing health reasons. Prosecutors ordered him to appear Friday.

Prosecutors are also digging into allegations that then-first lady Kim Yoon-ok took some $100,000 from the spy agency and used it personally.

The former president was dogged by the same slush fund allegations in 2009, when he was just elected. An independent counsel assigned to investigate at the time cleared him of wrongdoing, saying there was no evidence to back up allegations against Lee.

But rumors have persisted that Lee is the real owner of DAS and the slush fund exists. Suspicions were rekindled late last year following media reports that the ex-president’s son, Lee Si-hyung, was named to head key overseas DAS units in China. Company filings showed that Lee Dong-hyung was demoted to the vice president post from chief vice president, raising suspicions that he was deprived of control of the company.

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