Court to decide on arrest warrants of two ex-top court justices in alleged power abuse case

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court will decide later this week on whether to grant arrest warrants for two former Supreme Court justices in a ballooning power abuse scandal involving the previous top court leadership, court officials said Tuesday.

They said the Seoul Central District Court will hold two separate hearings at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to review the warrants that would place Ko Young-han and Park Byong-dae under pre-indictment detention.

Prosecutors filed for the writs against the two retired justices Monday on multiple 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 for the establishment of a separate court of appeals, Yang's pet project.

Yang is alleged to have instructed his officials to exert pressure on presiding judges to deliver verdicts in Park's favor.

Ko served as the National Court Administration chief from February 2016 to May 2017 and retired in August this year. Park was his predecessor. They both deny any wrongdoing.

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 presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae.

It's widely expected that prosecutors will take steps to eventually bring Yang in for questioning, after the court arraigns Ko and Park.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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