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Lee Seok-Hee Was Not Staying Illegally

Posted February. 21, 2002 09:17,   


The core person of the so-called `tax storm` case, Lee Seok-Hee, former deputy Commissioner of National Tax Service who was arrested by the U.S. agency under the request of the Korean government, is severely protesting against the returning to the South, anticipating a remarkable time to complete the legal procedure in the U.S. court.

Mr. Lee`s lawyers requested to postpone the review "for they did not have enough time to review the materials." at the first brief hearing of Mr. Lee case at the Federal Branch Court in Michigan on 19th and Magistrate Judge Joseph Scoville asked all side to return on Feb. 26th.

Attorneys David Dodge and Hyun Tae-Hoon argued after the first hearing that "it is wrong that the U.S. government arrested him even though the prior arrest warrant by the Korean government is overdue and invalidated." and they declared to question about the validity of the arrest warrant.

Regarding that the attorney team did not request for bail, they explained, "we will request for bail after collecting materials and witnesses to prove that he is not a dangerous person in the local society and has no danger of running away after next hearing."

Attorney Hyun asserted that "Mr. Lee entered the U.S. with J Visa for visiting researchers and renewed it 3 years after he came to the U.S. and his passport is valid until 2005. Some reports that he was staying illegally are wrong."

Mr. Lee`s brother Lee Myung-Hee (61, New York) said "My brother is innocent and he will fight for him in the court. I do not want my brother to return to South Korea since he could be imprisoned for a political matter."

The U.S. Justice Department announced that "Korean government sent its arrest warrant with Mr. Lee`s crimes when requesting for the extradition of Mr. Lee and the U.S. issued an arrest warrant based on the Korea`s request and arrested him. The expiration of the arrest warrant has no problem with the arrest of Mr. Lee."

Meanwhile, former lawmaker Seo Sang-Mok side refuted the NMDP`s allegation that Mr. Seo met with Mr. Seo S.H. who was running away in Okemos, Michigan, saying that "I have met with my son who is in the doctoral program at Michigan University but never met with Mr. Lee."

Former aide of Mr. Seo S.M. visited the pressroom in the Seoul Prosecution and explained,. "former lawmaker Seo visited the house of his son in Michigan in December last year and tripped to Lancing about 10 minutes away from Okemos by the invitation of his friend but never met with Mr. Seo."

Former lawmaker Seo expressed his intention to file a lawsuit against Lee Nak-Yeon, the spokesperson of NMDP, for the charge of defamation.

Myoung-Gun Lee konihong@donga.com · gun43@donga.com