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Iran Press TV

Head of South Korea's pension fund arrested in probe

Iran Press TV

Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:24AM

South Korean authorities have arrested the head of the state-run pension fund as part of an expanding investigation into the alleged involvement of President Park Geun-hye in a fraud scandal.

The chief of the country's National Pension Service (NPS) and former health minister Moon Hyung-pyo "was taken into emergency detention early this morning," said a spokesman for the Special Prosecutor's Office in a Wednesday press briefing.

Moon stands accused of coercing the state pension fund to back a controversial merger of two Samsung units when he served as the country's health minister.

Moon has denied the charge. He was taken into custody after a key NPS official told investigators that he had been pressured by the Health Ministry under Moon's watch to vote for the merger, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported.

Korean prosecutors would now have to decide whether to formally place Moon under detention before the emergency arrest period expires in 48 hours.

As part of the current corruption and influence peddling scandal, President Park is accused of collaborating with her long-time personal friend Choi Soon-sil to pressure major corporations such as Samsung into "donating" over tens of millions of dollars to foundations under Choi's control.

Korean legislators voted to impeach Park on December 9, accusing her of constitutional and criminal violations. While she has been stripped of her executive powers as a result of the impeachment, she retains her title.

Her impeachment is now under consideration at the Constitutional Court, which is allowed 180 days from the impeachment date to rule on its validity.

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