A Seoul court on Saturday turned down the prosecution's warrant request to arrest a former senior aide to President Moon Jae-in over bribery charges.
The Seoul Central District Court rejected the writ filed against Jun Byung-hun, former senior presidential secretary for political affairs, saying that the charges laid against him are disputable and that he has a low risk of fleeing or destroying evidence.
"Based on these grounds, it's difficult to recognize the need for an arrest," it said.
Jun, 59, is accused of having influenced Lotte Homeshopping, a local home shopping channel, to donate 330 million won ($303,700) to the Korea e-Sports Association in 2015, which he created.
Prosecutors suspect the money was given in exchange for favors involving the renewal of Lotte Homeshopping's broadcasting license, which was subject to a re-evaluation in April that year. Jun was then a three-term lawmaker belonging to the parliamentary committee in charge of related policies.
His family is also suspected of having used more than 5 million won worth of prepaid cards offered by the company in addition to free services at a Lotte luxury resort on Jeju Island.
Jun allegedly used the association's funds to pay his parliamentary aides as well.
Prosecutors have charged him with bribery and embezzlement, among other things.
Jun is the first high-profile official in the Moon administration to face a corruption probe. He resigned over the scandal last week but flatly denied any wrongdoing.
Two former aides to Jun and a broker were arrested on bribery charges earlier this month.
Prosecutors said they will consider whether to seek a further arrest warrant against Jun. (Yonhap)