SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – Prosecutors said Wednesday that former President Park Geun-hye is suspected of privately using illicit funds which the National Intelligence Service (NIS) regularly provided to the presidential office during her term.
An official from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office made the remarks while defending against the accusations that their probe into the NIS could undermine national security.
“For the very sake of national security, stern punishments (for those involved in the case) are inevitable,” the official told reporters, declining to be named.
“The true nature of the case is that civil servants provided bribes from state coffers, and the president took them and privately used them,” he added.
The prosecution has sought court approval to arrest all three NIS chiefs under Park. Warrants were sought for Nam Jae-joon and Lee Byong-ho on Tuesday and Lee Byung-kee on Wednesday. Lee Byung-kee has been under emergency detention since Tuesday.
The three are accused of providing money from the agency’s coffers to close aides to Park on a monthly basis between 2013 and mid-2016 totaling about 4 billion won (US$3.6 million). Prosecutors suspect the money may have been channeled into a secret fund belonging to Park.
They also think that the amount of monthly payments doubled to about 100 million won when Lee Byung-kee and Lee Byong-ho headed the NIS from about 50 million won when Nam was leading the agency. The three reportedly told prosecutors the payments were made at the request of the presidential office.
Park has been jailed at the Seoul Detention Center since March on bribery and other charges in a massive corruption scandal that led to her removal from office in the same month.