Lee Myung-bak requests to meet with housekeeping staff, security guards and chauffeur

Posted on : 2019-03-09 14:23 KST Modified on : 2019-03-09 14:23 KST
Court grants permission to meet only 11 essential former staff members in accordance with home detention laws
Ex-president Lee Myung-bak
Ex-president Lee Myung-bak

After former president Lee Myung-bak was released from detention on conditional bail on Mar. 6, he requested permission to meet with his housekeeping staff, along with his security guards and chauffeur, but the court deferred a decision about granting him access to his housekeepers.

“On Mar. 6, Lee submitted the names of the security guards and chauffeur who are working at his residence, and he asked the court for permission to change the conditions of his bail by adding two housekeepers. He requested to meet a total of 13 people, namely the 11 essential staff members (civil servants in special positions) listed in the Act on Special Treatment for Former Presidents, including a secretary, chauffeur and security guards, and two housekeepers he has hired personally,” said Kang Hun, Lee’s attorney, on Mar. 8.

Hon. Jeong Jun-yeong, who is in charge of the 1st Criminal Division at the Seoul High Court, responded as follows: “I am only giving permission for the 11 essential staff members. I will make my decision about the housekeepers after thinking it over a little more.”

“The court has decided that the defendant cannot make use of individuals who are exempt from the ban on meetings and communication to contact individuals who are regarded as knowing facts necessary for this case by any means whatsoever, including telephone calls, letters, faxes, emails, text messages, social media and so on,” the judge also said.

While making the decision to grant bail, the court banned Lee from meeting or communicating with anyone other than his wife, his immediate family members and their spouses and his lawyers.

The court apparently deferred a decision about Lee’s access to housekeepers on Friday in consideration that Lee is a suspect in a criminal case who was sentenced by a lower court to a heavy prison sentence of 15 years on charges of having accepted more than 10 billion won (US$8.82 million) in bribes. The court itself admitted that its granting bail to Lee basically amounted to home detention.

Lee is also considering the option of requesting that Kim Jang-hwan, a pastor and board of directors at the Far East Broadcasting Company, be added to the list of people he’s allowed to meet so that he can participate in religious activity while he’s out on bail. In Sept. 2018, Kim made controversial remarks in which he compared the prosecutors’ request that Lee be given a 20-year prison sentence to the crucifixion of Jesus.

Lee has not yet requested that the terms of his bail be adjusted to allow him to visit the hospital. The court didn’t accept Lee’s request for medical bail and said that he “must first petition the court to temporarily lift its ban on leaving his house before he can be given permission to visit the hospital.”

In a related story, the court has posted a notice to its website ordering a number of people who have refused to appear as witnesses at Lee’s trial to show up at court. These individuals are Lee Pal-sung, former chairman of the Woori Financial Group; Kim Baek-jun, former general affairs secretary at the Blue House; Lee Hak-su, former vice chairman of the Samsung Group; Kim Seong-woo, former DAS president; and Kwon Seung-ho, former managing director of DAS. “If they refuse to appear without a legitimate reason, they can be brought in by force,” the court said, announcing that it was taking steps to compel their appearance.

By Jang Yee-ji, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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