SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The elder brother of President Lee Myung-bak is the latest high-profile person to be questioned about alleged bribery in South Korea’s banking industry.
Lee Sang-deuk, 76, was summoned for questioning earlier this week amid allegations that he took bribes from two bankers in exchange for his influence in investigations against their banks, prosecution officials said Thursday.
No charges have been filed against him, and prosecution officials said they were still investigating whether there is enough evidence to seek his arrest.
Lee’s arrest would embarrass the president, who last year was outspokenly confident about the integrity of his government and has campaigned for fairness. His presidential term ends in February.
“I’m very heart-stricken,” Lee Sang-deuk told reporters Tuesday as he entered prosecutors’ office for questioning.
The controversy implicating the close family of the president also called to mind the scandal surrounding former President Roh Moo-hyun, who committed suicide in 2009 amid allegations that he and his relatives took bribes in exchange for their influence.
Roh’s older brother was given a 2½-year prison term for exerting his influence in business deals in exchange for money.
Lee, a former lawmaker, is accused of taking half a million dollars in bribes from the bankers in exchange for his influence, South Korean media reported. Lee also is suspected of receiving illegal political funds from a major South Korean company, the Yonhap news agency said.
Prosecution officials refused to comment on the report.
The two bankers from Solomon and Mirae savings banks implicated in the scandal have been charged with embezzlement and bribery.
Regulators have suspended operations at a series of savings banks, including Solomon and Mirae, since last year for lax oversight and capital shortages. Some were found to have lobbied politicians illegally to avoid the shutdown.
Lee, one of the president’s three older siblings, was a six-term lawmaker for South Korea’s ruling party until he chose not to run in this year’s April elections.
More Related Stories
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
- Record tornado devastates Oklahoma
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- Tornado reduces Oklahoma City suburb to rubble
- AP: Toll at least 37 dead in Okla. tornado
- Entire Midwest on tornado warning
- Oregon senator proposes appeal to Monsanto Protection Act
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Beltway scandal machine breaks, knows nothing about America
- Gitmo hunger striker launches Twitter campaign
- "Hero" cop, honored by Obama, accused of double rape
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- Pentagon adviser pushed Anthrax drug, which his firm produced
- Conservatives A-OK with closeted Boy Scouts
- The new geography of poverty
- Promotion for NYPD cop who cost city $1.5m in settlements
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
- Chinese hackers resume attacks against U.S.
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11