Ex-Park aides arrested on bribery and other charges

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Ex-Park aides arrested on bribery and other charges

Two former secretaries of ousted President Park Geun-hye were formally arrested early Friday on bribery and other charges.

The Seoul Central District Court issued the arrest warrants for Ahn Bong-geun and Lee Jae-man, acknowledging the probable cause for arrests and the possibility of them destroying evidence.

They are accused of taking at least 4 billion won ($3.58 million) from National Intelligence Service (NIS) officials from 2013 until July last year. The investigation has found that the money came from the spy agency’s expenses.

Prosecutors have charged them with taking bribes and causing loss of state funds. They were detained for questioning on Tuesday.

Ahn was a private secretary to the president from 2013-2015 and communications secretary for state affairs until 2016. Lee served as the secretary for general affairs from 2013-2016.

Prosecutors believe the NIS officials delivered about 100 million won in cash every month. Ahn is accused of taking at least additional 10 million won.

They are also suspected of buying an apartment with the money in an affluent district of Gangnam.

Ahn and Lee have reportedly admitted to having received such money but insisted it was used for state management.

Lee is said to have told the prosecution that Park ordered him to accept the funds and he did so at the behest of her.

Ahn and Lee, along with jailed former secretary Jeong Ho-seong, have been dubbed by media as the “doorknobs to the president,” figuratively meaning they held enormous power in that everything had to pass through them first to reach Park.

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