South Korean court to decide whether to
arrest ousted president Park
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[March 27, 2017]
By Ju-min Park
SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean court will
hold a hearing on Thursday to decide whether to arrest ousted president
Park Geun-hye and hold her in a cell for up to 20 days while she is
investigated on charges of taking bribes and abusing presidential power.
Park, 65, became South Korea's first democratically elected president to
be removed from office when a constitutional court upheld her
parliamentary impeachment this month.
Park is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure
big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back the former
presidentís policy initiatives.
She and Choi have denied wrongdoing.
In announcing the move on Monday to seek an arrest warrant, the South
Korean prosecutors' office said there was reason to suspect that Park
would try to destroy evidence.
"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.
The Seoul Central District Court said the arrest warrant hearing was
scheduled for Thursday at 1030 a.m. (0130 GMT). The decision is likely
to come late Thursday or early Friday.
Park could face more than 10 years in jail if convicted of receiving
bribes from bosses of big conglomerates, including Samsung Group
[SAGR.UL] chief Jay Y. Lee, in return for favors
Lee, who denies the charges that he provided bribes in return for favors
for Samsung, and Choi are already in detention and are separately on
[to top of second column]
South Korea's ousted leader Park Geun-hye arrives at a prosecutor's
office in Seoul. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Park has apologized to the country but said she never gained
personally from money that came from family-run conglomerates known
Her impeachment has left a political vacuum in South Korea, with
only an interim president pending a May 9 election, at a time of
rising tensions with North Korea over its weapons program and China,
which is angry over South Korea's decision to host a U.S.
Park, who is currently free from detention, was questioned for 14
hours by prosecutors last week.
If the court grants the arrest warrant, Park will become the
country's third former president to be detained in custody while
Once Park is under arrest, the prosecutor will have up to 20 days to
continue investigations, by which time they must formally file
charges against her and put her on trial.
(Additional reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Jack Kim and
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