Former South Korean president Lee appears for questioning over graft charges

Former President Lee Myung-bak speaks after arriving at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors&apos Office for questioning

The presidential office is maintaining a cautious stance in relation to former President Lee Myung-bak's questioning by prosecutors on Wednesday. Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday appeared before state prosecutors for questioning over a string of corruption charges including bribery.

Prosecutors have prepared about 120 pages of questions for the former president, as they strongly suspect he is the main culprit behind a web of bribery and embezzlement charges involving his former presidential secretaries, state officials and family members. Lee has previously called the investigation "political revenge" orchestrated by the current liberal government of President Moon Jae-in, a statement that prompted fury from Moon.

Lee said he feels badly for people who have been caught up by the allegations. "All I wish for is that this will be the last time in history" that a former president is being investigated.

His successor was disgraced and faces 30 years in prison.

Park was grilled by prosecutors in March past year and taken into custody later in the month. Park is in jail as she awaits a court verdict set for early next month.

They will question him about allegations that he pushed Samsung to pay USA legal fees for DAS, an auto parts company nominally owned by his brother on his behalf, and if he received illicit money from the National Intelligence Service while in office. "Lee is also denying pocketing slush funds and leaking state documents, saying he doesn't know anything (about those matters)".

It is believed that in return, he granted a pardon to Samsung's chairman, who had been given a suspended sentence for tax evasion.

The agency allegedly funneled money from a secret fund to Lee through his aides.

Two of the ex-president's former aides have been arrested and the homes and offices of his brothers raided.

While it is typical practice to end a prosecutorial probe as late as midnight, some expect Lee's questioning to continue to the next day, given the large number of allegations against him. By law, one who is convicted of bribery amounting to 100 million won (about 94,000 USA dollars) is subject to a minimum of 10 years in prison.

The investigation comes five years after Lee left office, making him the fifth former president to be interrogated by prosecutors.

During the interrogation, the prosecutors also asked Lee whether his son-in-law, an executive at Samsung Electronics Co., delivered bribes to Lee's wife, Kim Yoon-ok, but Lee reportedly denied the involvement of the former first lady.

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