S. Korea’s top court upholds ex-leader’s 17-year jail term
SEOUL, South Korea: South Korea’s top court upheld a 17-year prison sentence on former President Lee Myung-bak for a range of corruption crimes in a final ruling Thursday that will send him back to prison soon.
Lee has been convicted of taking bribes worth millions of dollars from big companies including Samsung and embezzling corporate funds of a company that he owned. He was also found guilty of taking bribes from one of his spy chiefs in return for his appointment and other favors.
The crimes occurred before and during his 2008-13 presidency. Lee has denied the charges. The Supreme Court also confirmed a lower court ruling that ordered Lee to pay 13 billion won in fines and forfeit another 5.78 billion won for his crimes, court officials said. Thursday’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed.
Lee was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2018. He was bailed out of jail several months later but was taken back into custody in February this year, after an appellate court handed down a 17-year term and canceled his bail. He was released again six days later after he appealed that ruling on his bail cancellation.
A Supreme Court statement said it cannot endorse a suspension of the court’s decision to cancel Lee’s bail. The Seoul prosecutor’s office didn’t immediately announce when it would send Lee back to prison. - AP