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Travel ban sought against S. Korea president's son

17 october 2012, 10:02
Lee Kwang-Bum. Photo courtesy of koreatimes.co.kr
Lee Kwang-Bum. Photo courtesy of koreatimes.co.kr
A South Korean special prosecutor has asked for President Lee Myung-Bak's son to be banned from leaving the country while he probes alleged irregularities in a project to build Lee's retirement home, AFP reports.

The office of special counsel Lee Kwang-Bum asked the justice ministry to bar Lee Si-Hyung, 34, from going abroad, a ministry official told AFP on Tuesday.

"We've received a request for an immediate ban on leaving the country and we're now processing it," the official said on condition of anonymity.

According to Yonhap news agency, the prosecutor has asked for similar travel bans on 10 others, including former presidential security service chief Kim In-Jong.

The move comes a day after a 63-member team, including independent prosecutors, kicked off an investigation into a now-defunct project to build a retirement home for Lee to use after he leaves office early next year.

The probe must be wrapped up within 45 days.

The controversy centres around the joint purchase last year -- by Lee Si-Hyung and the presidential security service -- of a plot of land on the southern edge of Seoul.

As well as a residence, the site would have included facilities for security personnel.

But the cost was allegedly not shared evenly, with suggestions that the security service paid too high a price for its share, while Lee's son got a below-market rate for the residential plot.

The presidential Blue House has denied opposition claims of financial chicanery. But in the face of criticism, Lee scrapped the project and decided to move into his existing private house in southern Seoul after leaving office.

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