South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye was arrested and taken into custody on Friday over corruption and power abuse scandal that made her the country’s first president to be dismissed from office before termination of her tenure.
The Seoul Central District Court granting the pretrial arrest warrant said it agreed to the prosecution claims on the charges against her and argument of “necessity and justification” to keep her in custody in fear of destruction in evidence.
Park faces 13 criminal charges, the most among former Korean presidents who were arrested, including bribery, illicit exercise of public power, coercion and divulgement of classified state information. She became the third head of state to be put behind the bars after Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.
Park lost her title and immunity from criminal prosecution after the Constitutional Court in March 10 ruling upheld the Dec. 9 legislative motion to impeach her.
Park is accused of conspiring with her confidante Choi Soon-sil currently in trial to force big business groups to donate total 86.8 billion won ($77.6 billion) to Choi and her organizations.
Prosecutors believe that she pressured the nation’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group to hand over 29.8 billion won to Choi and her foundations in exchange for backing the group’s merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries that was pivotal to cement the group’s heir apparent Jay Y. Lee’s legitimate hold on behalf of his bedridden father. Lee, accused of misappropriating corporate funds to make the contributions, is also detained while being tried at court.
Park can be detained up to 20 days while being investigated on the allegations. She has been placed in solitary room in Seoul Detention Center.
By Lee Hyun-jung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]