The Seoul court issued an arrest warrant against Park on charges of bribery, abuse of authority, coercion and leakage of government secrets. "It is justified and it is necessary to arrest [Park] once the facts are proven, and because there is a risk that evidence can be destroyed," the court said in a statement.

Park immediately moved from the prosecutor's office, where she awaited the decision, to a detention center near Seoul. The woman's fall from grace began in mid-2016, when it revealed that her friend and confidant Choi Soon-sil, who never held any official position, used her influence to get large South Korean companies to pay her millions of dollars.

The previous dismissal

The scandal prompted the National Assembly to remove the president in December in order to lift her immunity and thus allow an investigation against her. After the Constitutional Court confirmed March 10 the recall, prosecutors last week questioned Park in a 21-hour hearing before seeking his arrest.

"The accused abused her powers and her status as president to receive corporate bribes or to violate the principle of freedom of business management," said the prosecution, which considers Park acted as an accomplice to Choi.

She rejects those accusations and asserts that her friend abused her trust. The scandal also spilled over to the country's top brand, Samsung, whose vice president, Lee Jae-Yong, arrested last month in connection with the same case.

With this court ruling, Park becomes the third head of state detained by a corruption case in South Korea. The ex-members Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo served time in jail for that reason in the 1990s. In addition, President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide in 2009, after justice opened a corruption investigation against him and his family.

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