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(LEAD) Seoul court extends ex-president's detention

2017/10/13 18:21

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SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court on Friday extended the detention of former President Park Geun-hye who stands trial in a massive corruption case that led to her ouster early this year.

The Seoul Central District Court approved an additional arrest warrant for Park, acknowledging that she may destroy evidence.

The fresh warrant allows authorities to keep her in detention for another six months, until April 16, 2018. Her initial arrest warrant was due to expire Monday. Prosecutors made the request late last month saying more time is needed to finish court procedures.

Given the gravity of the case and public concern, the prosecution has said it plans to finish the remaining court interrogations of witnesses before the end of this year to speed up the pace.

The court has held 80 trial sessions for Park's case since May -- four sessions every week since June.

She was removed from office and arrested in March on charges of bribery and abuse of power. She stands accused of colluding with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil in taking some 43 billion won (US$37 million) from top conglomerates, including Samsung, and letting her friend meddle in state affairs.

The additional warrant has been issued based on the charges that were not included in the first warrant, in which the prosecution accused Park of taking or demanding kickbacks from two other conglomerates -- SK and Lotte.

Former President Park Geun-hye walks into a courthouse in southern Seoul on Oct. 13, 2017, to stand trial for bribery and abuse of power. (Yonhap) Former President Park Geun-hye walks into a courthouse in southern Seoul on Oct. 13, 2017, to stand trial for bribery and abuse of power. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr

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