A South Korean court says it has approved an arrest warrant for ex-President Lee Myung-bak over corruption allegations.

Thursday's decision by the Seoul Central District Court means prosecutors can immediately detain Lee for up to 20 days before formally charging him.

Prosecutors accuse Lee of taking a total of 11 billion won ($10 million) in bribes from his own intelligence agency and business groups.

Prosecutors allege Lee also used a private company as a channel to establish illicit slush funds totaling 35 billion won ($33 million).

Lee ruled from 2008-2013. Almost all South Korean presidents have been embroiled in scandals or other problems after leaving office or just before their terms ended.

Lee's conservative successor, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office and jailed last year over a separate corruption scandal.