South Korean prosecutors seek arrest of former president Park Geun-hye over allegations of corruption, bribery

Seoul: South Korean prosecutors on Monday said they are seeking an arrest warrant for ousted president Park Geun-hye over a string of corruption allegations that led to her removal from office.

File photo of Park Geun-hye. AP

File photo of Park Geun-hye. AP

Park faces charges of bribery, abuse of power, coercion and leaking government secrets in connection with a scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"A lot of evidence has been collected so far, but as the suspect denies most of the criminal allegations, there is a possibility of her destroying evidence," the prosecution said in a statement.

"It would be unfair not to seek a warrant considering that her accomplice Choi Soon-sil as well as those government officials who followed her direction and the ones who gave kickbacks have all been detained," it said.

Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the Samsung Group, was arrested and indicted on charges of giving bribes to Choi, and in effect to Park, in return for business favours.

Prosecutors concluded that the allegations raised against Park were very serious, in that she abused her "powerful status and authority" in leaking government secrets and letting her friend extort money from businesses, infringing upon their right to freedom of corporate management.

Park went through a marathon interrogation over the suspicions last week after the Constitutional Court upheld the National Assembly's decision to dismiss her on 10 March.

If the Seoul Central District Court issues the warrant, Park will become the country's third president to be arrested for criminal allegations following Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.

A presidential election will be held on 9 May.

Updated Date: Mar 27, 2017 16:09 PM

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