Asia & Australia

November 08, 2016

Arrest Warrants Issued For Two Former Presidential Aides: South Korea


korea-issues

A South Korean court said that arrest warrants had been issued for two former presidential aides under investigation in an influence-peddling scandal that sent President Park Geun-hye's approval rating to a record low. Numerous South Koreans demonstrated at a rally in central Seoul demanding Park to resign over the scandal involving an old friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is alleged to have used her closeness to the president to interfere in state affairs.

Moreover, numerous South Koreans are protesting in the capital, demanding President Park Geun-hye to resign over a growing influence-peddling scandal.

According to a Gallup Korea survey, Park's approval rating has fallen to 5%, the lowest since such polling began in 1988.

A warrant was issued by the Seoul Central District Court to prosecutors for arresting An Chong-bum, a former senior adviser for Park, who faces charges of abuse of power and attempted extortion. Notably, An was already in custody under an emergency detention order.

Prosecutors are looking into allegations that An and Choi forced South Korean conglomerates to donate funds to non-profit foundations.

In addition, an arrest warrant was issued by the court for another former presidential aide, Jeong Ho-seong, who also had been held in temporary custody.

Prosecutors had apprehended Jeong on the suspicion of leaking classified information. Both An and Jeong stepped down late last month amid the deepening crisis.

Park stated in a televised address that her "heart was breaking" over the scandal and that she would cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation.

Choi's lawyer said that he expects prosecutors to look into whether Park inappropriately received classified documents.

In October 2016, Choi stated that she received drafts of Park's speeches after Park's election victory but denied that she had access to other official material, influenced state affairs or benefited financially.

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