Prosecutors in South Korea have called for an arrest warrant for former president Lee Myung-bak over allegations of corruption.
Prosecutors said Monday that the arrest warrant was necessary to prevent Lee from destroying evidence related to an ongoing investigation into corruption allegations against him.
Lee served as president between 2008 and 2013.
“We believe that there is a high risk of possible destruction of evidence (if Lee is not taken under custody),” said a statement from Seoul prosecutors’ office investigating the case, adding, “Each accusation he faces is a significant offence that requires formal arrest.”
Lee is accused of granting a presidential pardon in 2009 to the chairman of Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee, after he was handed down a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion.
The former president also faces, among other charges, allegations of accepting millions of dollars to help a former CEO assume the post in a state-financed banking group.
Lee was questioned for several days last week and denied any wrongdoing. He has previously accused his rivals of orchestrating the investigation as a “political revenge.”
The court investigating Lee’s case is expected to decide on the arrest request later this week.
If the request is approved, Lee would become the fourth surviving former South Korean leader to be detained over corruption.
His successor Park Geun-Hye is now behind bars waiting a verdict, which could be a 30-year jail sentence, in her bribery trial. Park was impeached and removed from power last year over a corruption scandal after weeks of protests on the streets.
Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, two former army generals who served as presidents through the 1980s to early 1990s, were jailed for corruption and treason but they were released in the 1990s after they received presidential pardons.