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Former Chairman of FTC Prohibited From Leaving Country

Posted April. 11, 2003 22:40,   


The Department of Financial Investigation (headed by Lee In-kyu) of the Seoul District Public Prosecutor’s Office reported that Lee Nam-kee, former chairman of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) was prohibited from leaving the country on charges of malfeasance. The prosecution found evidence suggesting Lee took 20 thousand dollars in bribes from the SK Group.

The prosecution is considering summoning and questioning Lee sooner or later. The prosecution also secured a statement that SK bribed one or two high ranking government officials.

The prosecution has been conducting an investigation into Lee and SK, since Lee, then chairman of the FTC, was possibly lobbied by SK last year. FTC is currently under investigation as to whether it broke the Fair Trade Law for SK Telecom to buy KT stocks.

In a radio program last May, Lee said, “If SK Telecom was found to have broken fair trade laws by buying KT shares, SK Telecom will be ordered to dispose of KT stocks.”

It was reported that Lee received the money between last May and August. A prosecution official said, “We are tracing accounts to accumulate real evidence that Lee received money from SK. However, Lee’s charges have yet to be confirmed.”

Lee resigned as chairman of FTC last month and became a corporate legal advisor early this month. He resigned though on April 11 after the prosecution announced its investigation.

Donga Ilbo tried to contact him by phone at home and at his office but did not succeed.

The prosecution said that other high ranking officials who received money from SK last year are not likely to be punished criminally.

“Their charges are not clear considering the nature of the money received so we have yet to trace their bank accounts or prohibit them from leaving the country,” A prosecution official said.

Myoung-Gun Lee Sang-Rok Lee gun43@donga.com myzodan@donga.com