South Korean prosecutors push to arrest ousted president


South Korean prosecutors said Monday that they want a court to issue a warrant to arrest former President Park Geun-hye on corruption allegations.

The corruption scandal involving Park and her friend and close associate Choi Soon-sil erupted in October 2016, leading to Park's impeachment in December. She is known to have denied all allegations raised against her.

The Constitutional Court removed Park from office in earlier March, three months after she was impeached by lawmakers over the allegations.

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"The case is very grave as the suspect has demonstrated acts of abuse of power by making companies give money and infringing on the freedom of corporate management by using powerful position and authority as president", the prosecutors' office said in a statement.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been taken into custody for his involvement in offering tens of millions of United States dollars in bribes to Choi in return for receiving assistance to inherit the management control of Samsung Group, the country's biggest family-controlled conglomerate.

Lee, who denies the charges that he provided bribes in return for favours for Samsung, and Choi are already in detention and are separately on trial.

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The attempt was made at about 4:40 p.m. local time (0740GMT) to search the offices of Woo Byung-woo, former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs tasked with supervising prosecutors, police and the intelligence agency.

If the court grants the arrest warrant, Park will become the country's third former president to be detained in custody while being investigated.

Park Geun-hye, the nation's first female president and the daughter of the Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee, had been an icon of the conservative establishment that joined Washington in pressing for a hard line against North Korea's nuclear provocations.

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