Seoul, March 6 (IANS): Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was released on bail on Wednesday after almost one year of detention on corruption charges.
Lee, the country’s President from 2008-2013, was sentenced by a lower court in October to 15 years in prison on conviction for bribery and embezzlement. He appealed the decision.
The Seoul High Court approved the bail request that Lee made on January 29 on the grounds of deteriorating health and other reasons.
For the 1 billion won ($886,130) bail, the court ordered him to stay in his registered residence and meet or communicate only with his immediate family members and legal representatives. Lee accepted the conditions, Yonhap news agency reported.
The former President also requires court approval for hospital visits and must report his return to the court. Submission of logs on daily activities was also part of the requirements, the report said.
The court said Lee’s failing health had little to do with the decision and added that placing him under house arrest before his arrest warrant expires will reduce the risk of him tampering with evidence and negatively affecting the trial, according to Yonhap.
He was arrested on March 22, 2018 and was set to be released on April 8.
“The conditional release will serve to maintain the effect of the arrest warrant and the defendant will be remanded in custody in case of any infraction,” the court said.
Following the court decision, Lee said: “I fully understand (the conditions) … I never approached the witnesses even before the arrest. I draw a strict line between private and public matters.” He then shook hands with his supporters in the courtroom.
On October 5, the lower court sentenced him to 15 years in prison and ruled that Lee was the actual owner of his brother’s auto parts company and that he used his presidential power to benefit the firm and himself, including accepting a 5.9 billion won ($5.2 million) bribe from Samsung.