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Ex-NIS chief summoned for 2nd time

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Lee Byeong-ho, the only one that avoided arrest among three former spy agency chiefs over allegation that they gave
Lee Byeong-ho, the only one that avoided arrest among three former spy agency chiefs over allegation that they gave "bribes" to former President Park Geun-hye with the agency's "special funding," was questioned for the second time, Sunday.

By Lee Kyung-min


Lee Byeong-ho, the only person who avoided arrest among three former spy agency chiefs over allegation they gave "bribes" to former President Park Geun-hye with the agency's "special funding," was questioned for a second time, Sunday.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office summoned Lee in less than two days after the Seoul Central District court rejected its request to issue an arrest warrant. The remaining two _ Nam Jae-joon and Lee Byung-kee _ were arrested following the court-issued arrest warrant.

The three are suspected of paying 4 billion won ($3.6 million) of the agency's special funds to Park's former presidential secretaries _ Ahn Bong-geun, Lee Jae-man and Jeong Ho-seong.

Nam was under suspicion that while he was serving as spy chief, he pressured Hyundai Motors to cough up 2.6 billion won to fund conservative advocacy groups that held pro-government and pro-business rallies.

Lee Byung-kee is suspected of increasing the monthly payment to Cheong Wa Dae to 100 million won, double the amount under his predecessor Nam who gave 50 million won a month.

The prosecution asked Lee Byeong-ho why he volunteered that Park asked him for the money, a step further from his statement made during an earlier prosecution questioning when he only admitted he gave the money at the request of Cheong Wa Dae.

The revelation, the prosecution said, was the main reason the court rejected the arrest warrant, as it deemed he would not seek to "dare" destroy evidence after volunteering the key information.

The prosecution said he needs to be arrested as he gave as much as 2.6 billion won to Park. He is highly likely to destroy evidence involving a separate allegation that he gave 500 million won to a pollster to determine the viability of a Park-loyalist lawmaker running in then upcoming election.

Lee said he only knew Park asked for the money but did not know where she spent it.

The prosecution is considering seeking a new arrest warrant after questioning him about how and when Park asked for the money.

Prosecutors are likely to question Park soon after questioning former presidential secretaries for political affairs Cho Yoon-sun and Hyun Ki-hwan, who are suspected of regularly receiving the spy agency funds.





Lee Kyung-min lkm@koreatimes.co.kr


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