South Korean president's brother charged with bribery


Lee Sang-deuk, President Lee Myung-bak's elder brother (C), is escorted by investigation officers as he is transferred to a detention house from the prosecutor's office on July 10, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. Lee, 77-year-old elder brother of incumbent President Lee Myung-buk, was arrested on suspicion of receiving 600 million South Korean won from two saving banks as illegal political fund.


Chung Sung-Jun

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's elder brother was arrested late on Tuesday on bribery allegations, according to the Associated Press.

Lee Sang-deuk's arrest came hours after angry protesters threw eggs at Lee as he entered the court for questioning. The incident proves to be a major embarrassment for the ruling party which faces presidential elections this year, noted the AP.

Lee served as a mentor for the president, and his arrest further weakens President Lee's lame-duck leadership, said The New York Times.

The president's 76-year-old brother served six terms as a lawmaker in the president's party and has been charged with taking 600 million won ($525,000) from two bankers, according to The Times. The bankers, who were charged with embezzlement and bribery, reportedly asked Lee to help stop government regulators from shutting down their bank.

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Al Jazeera reported that regulators suspended operations at several savings banks, leaving customers unable to withdraw money. Protesters outside the courtroom where the judge was deciding whether to arrest Lee shouted, "Give back my money!" and "Arrest Lee Sang-deuk!"

Yonhap, South Korea's largest news agency, reported that key aides of President Lee were also suspected of bribery, including Rep. Chung Doo-un. A close confidant of the president's Chung is suspected of accepting bribes and introducing the chairman of Solomon Savings Bank to Lee Sang-deuk.

The president's five-year presidential term ends early next year, according to the AP. Elections are set to be held in December.

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