Former President Park’s Detention Extended for Additional Bribery Accusations

More corruption charges have come up against former President Park claiming she was receiving kickbacks from SK and Lotte in order to get a new warrant to keep her detained for up to six more months:

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.  [Yonhap]

Blue House Attempting to Keep Former President Park Imprisoned By Bringing Back Sewol Allegations

Is it just me or is the detention of former President Park really beginning to stink with the Blue House suddenly finding documents in regards to the Sewol tragedy to hopefully keep her imprisoned?  I thought they had all this evidence of her corruption to keep her imprisoned?:

Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok shows the enlarged documents from the former Park Geun-hye administration that have allegedly been manipulated to falsify the time of the first report to Park on the Sewol ferry sinking in a press briefing held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2017. (Yonhap)

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday that it has found documents from the former administration that show the former president may have lied about her role in dealing with the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry three years ago.

The documents, found in the crisis management office at Cheong Wa Dae, included a daily journal from the office drafted April 16, 2014, when the passenger ferry sank in waters off the country’s western coast, killing more than 300 people, according to Im Jong-seok, the presidential chief of staff.

Im said the daily log showed the first report of the accident was made to then-President Park Geun-hye at 9:30 a.m., instead of at 10 a.m., as earlier claimed by the ousted leader and her aides.

The Cheong Wa Dae official said the document was revised Oct. 23, 2014, to say the first report was made at 10 a.m.

“The reason they pushed back the time of the first report to the president by half an hour appears to have been an attempt to reduce the time between the first report and Park’s first order, said to have been made at around 10:15 a.m.,” Im said at a press briefing, apparently suggesting a 45-minute gap between the first report and the first order would have aggravate criticism for her inaction during the accident that left 304 people dead.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

 

Former Aids to President Park Receives Prison Sentences for Managing “Cultural Blacklist”

It will be interesting to see if any of these ex-aids of President Park were flipped to give evidence against her?  These sentences makes me think that if the prosecutors cannot get President Park on the Samsung corruption charges then maybe they will convict her for knowing about this “cultural blacklist” her aides were running:

This combined photo shows former chief of staff Kim Ki-choon (L) and ex-Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun entering the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul on July 27, 2017, to hear their sentencing. (Yonhap)

A former top aide of ousted president Park Geun-hye was sentenced to three years in jail on Thursday for running a list of culture figures critical of the government that barred them from state support.

The Seoul Central District Court doled out the sentence to former presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon after finding him guilty of abuse of power and perjury.

But Cho Yoon-sun, who served as the culture minister under the Park administration, was acquitted of her charges related to the so-called cultural blacklist and was released from prison after the court gave her a one-year jail term suspended for two years. The court found her guilty only of lying before the parliament at a hearing on the blacklist scandal last year.

The special counsel team investigating the case demanded seven years in prison for Kim and six years for Cho in the final hearing on July 3.

Kim’s lawyers immediately vowed to appeal the ruling, calling it “unjust.”

The court also sentenced five other former ranking government officials to 18 months to two years in jail, with some on probation, for their involvement in creating and managing the blacklist.

Former culture minister Kim Jong-deok was sentenced to two years in prison, while former presidential education and culture senior secretary Kim Sang-ryul was handed an 18-month imprisonment. Former presidential culture and sports secretary Kim So-young was given 18 months in jail, suspended for two years.

Former vice culture minister Chung Kwan-joo and ex-presidential aide Shin Dong-churl were sentenced to one year and a half in jail each.

The artist blacklist is part of a massive corruption scandal that removed Park from office in March. Kim and Cho were indicted in February for masterminding the creation of a register of nearly 10,000 artists, writers and filmmakers deemed unfriendly to the conservative administration. Those on the list were denied state subsidies. The accused have maintained their innocence.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Demands that South Korea Hand Over Former President Park for Execution

Here is the latest outrageous demand from North Korea:

This graphic shows, from left, former NIS chief Lee Byung-ho, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)

North Korea on Wednesday warned of capital punishment against a former South Korean president and former spy chief for their alleged plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The angry statement came after a Japanese media report that former South Korean President Park Geun-hye had instructed former National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Lee Byung-ho to oust Kim by any means — including assassination.

The latest claim came amid lingering tensions on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“Former President Park Geun-hye and former spy chief Lee Byung-ho as well as NIS agents can never make any appeal even though they meet miserable dog’s death any time, at any place and by whatever methods from this moment,” the North Korea Ministry of State Security said in an English-language statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The statement demanded South Korea immediately hand over Park and Lee to North Korea, claiming they committed what it claims is hideous state-sponsored terrorism against the North’s supreme leadership.

North Korea also warned it will impose summary punishment without advance notice on those who organized, took part in or pursued the plot in case the U.S. and South Korea again try to stage a terrorist attack against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I hope President Park has good security around her because of how unpopular she is in South Korea you never know if the Kim regime may think they could get away with an attack on her.

Seoul Court Denies Prosecutors Request to Arrest Chung Yoo-ra

Like I have been saying all along, I saw no evidence that Chung Yoo-ra did anything illegal.  It appeared from the start that the attempts to arrest her were to put pressure on her mom, Choi Soon-sil to cooperate on implicating former President Park in her allegedly corrupt dealings.  With Park currently behind bars and standing trial right now, there is less urgency to use Chung to pressure her mom:

Chung Yoo-ra brought to the district prosecutors office in Seoul. [Chosun Ilbo]

A Seoul court on Saturday rejected a prosecution request for the arrest of a daughter of ousted President Park Geun-hye’s friend at the center of a massive corruption scandal that removed the former leader.

Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, was freed after the court dismissed the prosecution request for her arrest.  [Yonhap]