SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors raided the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday as part of a probe into a massive power abuse scandal involving a former top court chief and the previous Park Geun-hye government.

Prosecutors are investigating allegations the top court's administrative body under former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae sought to use politically sensitive trials as bargaining chips in its dealing with the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Yang and his officials allegedly came up with the whole idea to gain presidential approval for his bid to establish a court of appeals in the South Korean judiciary in an apparent attempt to further strengthen the top court chief's power.

One of the trials he picked was the litigation filed by Korean victims of Japan's forced labor during World War II seeking compensation from two Japanese firms, documents written by Yang's National Court Administration showed. Its re-appeal had been making no progress at the top court for unclear reasons.

Prosecutors said Thursday's raid at the foreign ministry was to obtain evidence related to the allegation regarding the trial. A Seoul court issued the search warrant late Wednesday only for limited ministry divisions that are specifically related to the case.

Prosecutors have sought court warrants to search the NCA, judges' offices and other properties in connection with the alleged power abuses. But the court has turned down most of the requests, citing a lack of grounds for the need to issue the warrants.

Source: Yonhap News Agency