S. Korean president Lee Myung-bak’s brother detained over bribery charges [Xinhua]

SOUTH KOREA-SEOUL-POLITICS-CORRUPTION

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s elder brother Lee Sang-deuk leaves the office of prosecutors in Seoul on July 11, 2012. Lee Sang-deuk was jailed early Wednesday morning over bribery charges, dealing a blow to the unpopular president whose term ends early next year. (Xinhua/Newsis)

SEOUL, July 11 (Xinhua) — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’ s elder brother Lee Sang-deuk was jailed early Wednesday morning over bribery charges, dealing a blow to the unpopular president whose term ends early next year.

The elder Lee, former six-term legislator of the ruling Saenuri Party, is suspected of taking some 600 million won (529,200 U.S. dollars) from local savings banks in return for helping the troubled banks avoid regulatory penalties.

He is also suspected of receiving 150 million won in illegal political funds from Kolon Group, a textile company he once led.

The Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant against the 77-year-old late Tuesday, saying there are reasonable concerns Lee might attempt to destroy evidence against him.

More than a dozen angry protesters, who claim to have lost money after operations of the troubled savings banks were suspended, threw eggs at Lee when he appeared at the court before it issued the warrant.

President Lee, whose successor will be elected in December, has yet to officially comment on the case.

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