Former Woori Chief Admits Bribing Ex-President Lee

  • By Shin Su-ji

    August 08, 2018 12:27

    Memos by former Woori Financial Holdings chairman Lee Pal-seung that were submitted as evidence at trial on Tuesday reveals that he bribed ex-President Lee Myung-bak to the tune of W3 billion (US$1=W1,123).

    The memos suggest Lee took the bribes in cash and kind but proved thankless in return. Prosecutors submitted the 41 pages document written between January and May 2008 in court after they were provided by Lee Pal-seung, who apparently still feels bitter.

    The former president is charged with taking W2.25 billion in cash and W12.3 million worth of suits from Lee Pal-seung, either through his brother and former lawmaker Lee Sang-deuk or his son in law Lee Sang-joo.

    Former President Lee Myung-bak arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on Tuesday. /Newsis

    Lee Pal-seung wrote that he met the president-elect on Feb. 23, 2008 and asked to be appointed head of the Financial Services Commission or Korea Development Bank or be given a parliamentary seat, but the president told him to "wait a bit longer."

    On March 7, 2008, following his inauguration as president, Lee Myung-bak suggested the position of chairman of the Korea Exchange. Lee Pal-seung refused, saying it "is not the position I want."

    "Why am I feeling so much hatred toward Lee Myung-bak?" he wrote in the memos. "Should I sever all ties to Lee Myung-bak and start over?," he wrote later that month. "I am deeply troubled. I gave him around W3 billion. How much did I spend on him?"

    But after May of 2008, the memoir shows that various steps were taken to appoint Lee Pal-seung to the top post at Woori Financial Holdings. He eventually became chairman in June of that year and held the job until June 2013.

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