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(LEAD) Court reviews arrest of ex-presidential secretary over scandal

All Headlines 17:56 April 11, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES with end of hearing, Woo's comments in para 3)

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court held a hearing Tuesday to decide whether to issue a warrant to arrest a former presidential aide in connection with a corruption scandal that led to the ouster of President Park Geun-hye.

Woo Byung-woo, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs from 2015 to 2016, appeared at the Seoul Central District Court to attend the hearing that began at 10:30 a.m.

"I have fully explained (my stance) in the courtroom," Woo told reporters as he left the court after the seven-hour session. "I said everything truthfully."

The court is expected to make a decision late at night or early the next morning.

The former aide to the ousted president is accused of aiding and abetting her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil in meddling in state affairs and amassing profits based on her ties to Park.

Prosecutors suspect that Woo tried to disrupt a special presidential inspector's investigation into the scandal and interfered with personnel issues of government officials.

Woo has denied any wrongdoing.

It marked the second time for the ex-presidential aide to stand before a judge to avoid an arrest over his alleged involvement in the scandal, which eventually led to Park's detention late last month.

In February, an independent counsel team that looked into the scandal sought a warrant for Woo, but the same court rejected it, saying the allegations are still debatable.

Woo Byung-woo (C), former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in the capital on April 11, 2017, to attend a hearing on his arrest. (Yonhap)


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