Lee Myung-bak’s wife could face questioning

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Lee Myung-bak’s wife could face questioning

The wife of former President Lee Myung-bak could face a summons soon amid growing suspicion that she was involved in alleged bribery and corruption when her husband was president, sources from the prosecution said Saturday.

Kim Yoon-ok’s name was mentioned during recent interrogations of a former bank chairman, former presidential secretaries and relatives of the former first lady.

According to the sources, Lee Pal-seung, who led Woori Finance Holdings from 2008 to 2013, told prosecutors that he gave 2.25 billion won ($2.1 million) to Lee’s son-in-law in 2007. Prosecutors suspect about 500 million won of that money was delivered to Kim through Lee’s older brother.

They also suspect that Kim used the corporate credit card of an auto parts maker, DAS, to buy about 400 million won worth of goods from department stores and duty-free shops for over a decade.

DAS stands at the center of the Lee scandal as he is suspected of being its true owner. The former president has stubbornly insisted that DAS belongs to his older brother.

Prosecutors say Kim’s use of the DAS credit card, if confirmed, could constitute an act of embezzlement because she had nothing to do with the company.

Kim is also suspected of involvement in the National Intelligence Service’s secret payment of $100,000 to the presidential office in 2011. A former presidential secretary confessed that he delivered the funds to one of Kim’s aides.

Lee, who was president from 2008 to 2013, reportedly denied all the charges against him and his wife during a 21-hour interrogation at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office earlier this week.

During questioning, Lee acknowledged receiving the National Intelligence Service funds, but he refused to explain how he spent the money. Prosecutors suspect Kim personally used the funds.

Sources from the prosecution said any decision to question Kim will be made after they decide on whether to seek a warrant for Lee’s arrest.

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