Prosecution Secures Statement For The Ex-President Lee Myung Bak About Money From The Spy Agency

Lisa Myung, Jan. 16, 2018, 9:15 a.m.

A former senior official of the National Intelligence Service has told prosecutors that he reported to then-President Lee Myung-bak that the spy agency gave money from its off-book special operations fund to one of Lee's close aides, officials said Tuesday. If confirmed, the statement from Kim Joo-sung, who served as chief of the agency's planning and coordination office from 2008-2010, could make the former president a target of the prosecution investigation.

According to sources, Kim recently said during prosecution questioning that he reported to Lee in 2008 that the intelligence agency gave 200 million won (US$188,030) from its special operations fund to Kim Paik-joon, Lee's senior secretary for administrative affairs at the time.

The agency official told investigators that he reported to Lee that the offering of the money could be problematic. Despite the report, the former presidential secretary demanded more money and an additional 200 million won was given to Kim.

Prosecutors are trying to determine whether and how deeply Lee was involved, sources said.

On Sunday, prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for the former presidential secretary on charges of receiving money from the spy agency.

During a court arraignment on Tuesday, Kim rejected the charges against him.

The Seoul Central District Court is expected to decide whether to issue the warrant late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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