Posted : 2013-04-21 19:21
Updated : 2013-04-21 19:21

Ex-president in hot seat over use of tennis court

By Kim Tae-gyu

Former President Lee Myung-bak

Rep. Park Hong-keun of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) accused former President Lee Myung-bak, Sunday, of abusing his status to monopolize a tennis court at the Olympic Park in eastern Seoul.

Park alleged Lee used the indoor court twice a week, making it impossible for ordinary citizens to make a reservation.

He said Lee has played tennis there for about three hours every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning since he left the presidential office on Feb. 25.

The first-term lawmaker contends that the court operator did not allow ordinary citizens to reserve the popular court during the two time slots including peak time Saturday morning, and also offered a substantial discount to Lee.

Lee seems to have gained special treatment, Park said. It is very regretful that a former president played tennis at a time when national security is at risk due to a possible North Korean nuclear test.

This is not the first time that Lee has been accused of abusing his status in relation to his long-time pastime.

In the mid 2000s when he was mayor of Seoul, Lee was hit by allegations that he used city-owned tennis courts exclusively without paying fees.

Also at issue is Lees plan of opening a 430-square-meter private office with a monthly rent of 13 million won that will be paid by the government.

The report on the plan prompted arguments over whether former state heads should enjoy such treatment on top of their pensions and other benefits.

After retirement, presidents get a pensions amounting to 70 percent of their former salaries. For Lee, the amount is around 135 million won a year. In addition, his travelling and communications expenses are covered by the government.

관련 한글 기사

이명박 전 대통령, 테니스장 `특혜 이용' 논란

이명박 전 대통령이 퇴임 이후에 서울 올림픽공원내의 실내 테니스장을 매주 2차례씩 편법적으로 이용한 게 아니냐는 의혹이 제기돼 `특혜' 논란을    낳고 있다.

    오래 전부터 테니스를 즐겨온 이 전 대통령은 대통령직에서 물러난 뒤 지난 달 2일부터 매주 수요일과 토요일에 이 공원 실내 테니스장에서 테니스를 쳐 온 것으로 알려졌다.

    민주통합당 배재정 의원실에 따르면 이 테니스장은 인터넷을 통해 신청을 받아 선착순으로 사용자를 정하기 때문에 이 전 대통령도 이를 이용하려면 사전에 예약을 해야 한다. 

    하지만 `올림픽 공원 테니스장 코트별 예약자 현황'에는 이 전 대통령의 명단이 없었다면서 특히 토요일의 경우 예약경쟁이 심하다는 점에서 특혜 의혹이 있다고 배 의원실은 주장했다.

    이에 대해 이 전 대통령측은 '정해진 절차에 의해서 예약이 되는 것으로 알고 사용료를 내고 테니스를 친 것'이라면서 '특혜를 부탁한 적은 없으며, 문제가 있었다면 확인하고 그 절차를 밟도록 하겠다'고 말했다.

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