Park’s detention extended
A court extended the detention of former President Park Geun-hye, Friday.
The Seoul Central District Court issued the warrant sought by prosecutors for additional bribery charges involving Lotte and SK, which were not included in the first arrest warrant.
“The grounds and need for detention are recognized because of the possible destruction of evidence,” the court said.
Park’s six-month detention period ends at midnight Monday. The new warrant extends the detention period by two months, and two more two-month extensions are possible.
However, the trial will likely be proceeded with as swiftly as possible, with the aim for it to be finished before the end of the year.
Park has been jailed on multiple charges related to the massive corruption scandal which led to her removal from office in March.
The main charge she faces is receiving 29.8 billion won out of a promised 43 billion won ($37 million) in funds from Samsung Group in exchange for facilitating a power transfer from Chairman Lee Kun-hee to his son Lee Jae-yong. The funds were handed over to Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil and her daughter.
Prosecutors had contended that without detention, Park would likely not attend hearings citing health problems.
Park visited the Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital on two occasions to receive treatment for pain in her back and toes.
Prosecutors also claimed she may attempt to influence witnesses who are set to be questioned in court.
However, Park’s legal representative Yoo Young-ha said the hearings on the Lotte and SK cases are mostly done and that therefore they cannot be cited as a reason for the extended detention.