Prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for a former chief of the National Intelligence Service on Wednesday over allegations that the agency paid billions of won to the presidential office when ousted President Park Geun-hye was in office.
Lee Byung-kee, who served as NIS director from 2014-2015, was already in custody, as prosecutors had put him under emergency detention a day earlier. Lee is one of three NIS directors under Park, and prosecutors requested court warrants Tuesday to arrest the other two -- Nam Jae-joon and Lee Byong-ho -- over the same charges.
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 ($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 Cheong Wa Dae.
Prosecutors are considering questioning the ex-president over the allegations.
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. (Yonhap)