South Korean prosecutors on Monday sought to arrest former President Park Geun-hye for fear of destruction of evidence over a corruption scandal that led to her impeachment.
The special investigation headquarters of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, tasked with the probe into the corruption scandal embroiling Park, said in a statement that the warrant to arrest Park was sought for concerns about possible attempts to destroy evidence.
The statement said Park had denied most of criminal charges levied at her despite numerous evidences collected.
The Constitutional Court decided on March 10 to remove Park from office, making the female leader the first South Korean president ousted by impeachment.
Prosecutors summoned Park on March 21 for questioning, but she denied most of her wrongdoings.
The arrest warrant for Park was delivered earlier in the day to a Seoul court, which would decide whether to issue the warrant later this week.
If issued, Park would become the third South Korean president to be taken into custody after retirement.
Prosecutors, the statement said, also considered fairness in seeking Park’s arrest as many of those involved in the scandal have already been in custody.
Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of the scandal, has been detained as Choi and Park were branded by prosecutors as criminal accomplices.
A total of 13 charges were levied at Park, including bribery, abuse of power and leakage of state secrets.
Many of former government officials and presidential secretaries have been in custody, while Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is facing charges of bribery.
Lee, an heir apparent of Samsung Group, is charged with offering tens of millions of U.S. dollars in bribes to Choi in return for getting assistance to inherit the overall management control of the country’s biggest family-controlled conglomerate from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee.
The younger Lee has effectively taken the helm of Samsung since Chairman Lee was hospitalized after a heart attack three years ago.
Park is accused of colluding with Choi to solicit tens of millions of dollars from business conglomerates to set up two non-profit foundations Choi used for personal gains.
Choi is suspected of receiving government documents with state secrets from one of Park’s former secretaries to meddle in state affairs behind the scenes. Enditem