Warrants are requested for three former NIS agents

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Warrants are requested for three former NIS agents

Prosecutors Wednesday requested arrest warrants for three former senior officials of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) as part of a probe into the spy agency’s alleged political interference to help the two previous conservative administrations.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said that it sought the writs against Choo Myeong-ho, Shin Seung-gyun and Yoo Seong-ok, who led the NIS divisions of national intelligence, strategy and psychological warfare, respectively.

Investigators accused them of breaching the law banning intelligence officials’ political involvement. The prosecution suspects that during the Lee Myung-bak administration from 2008-13, Choo and Shin led a political scheme to criticize opposition politicians and blacklist celebrities that were deemed critical of the government.

Choo was also suspected of creating a blacklist of artists and other cultural figures seen as being at odds with the government of Park Geun-hye, who led the country for some four years from 2013. Choo was taken into custody on Tuesday for questioning.

Shin allegedly directed his subordinates around 2011 to devise plans to help the ruling party win parliamentary and presidential elections, and misappropriated NIS funds for opinion surveys in the process.

Yoo is suspected of getting involved in online political activities to benefit the Lee government, encouraging conservative civic groups to carry out protests or other activities in support of the government and channeling state funds into such activities.

The prosecution has been carrying out a series of probes into alleged misdeeds involving past government officials, which the conservative opposition parties have labeled political retribution.

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