Prosecution requests warrants for top justices

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Prosecution requests warrants for top justices

Prosecutors filed for arrest warrants for two former Supreme Court justices on Monday over their alleged involvement in a ballooning abuse of power case involving previous top court leadership.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office requested the warrants for Ko Young-han and Park Byong-dae, it said. They face charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, among others.

They are accused of working at the behest of then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae to interfere in trials in order to lobby the presidential office of then-President Park Geun-hye to establish a separate court of appeals, Yang’s pet project.

They were interrogated by the prosecution last month.

Prosecutors suspect that Yang instructed his officials to exert pressure on judges in charge to deliver a verdict in Park’s favor.

Ko served as the NCA chief from February 2016 to May 2017 and retired this past August. Park was his predecessor.

Ko is also accused of covering up an appeals court judge’s wrongdoing in the southeastern city of Busan in 2016 because he had close ties with a then-presidential secretary and Yang needed their connection to lobby the Blue House.

They have both denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors have indicted a former NCA deputy head for being the point man in Yang’s schemes. With the two former top court justices facing possible arrests, it is likely that the prosecution’s next move will eventually target Yang.

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