K-pop video di­rec­tor charged in S Korea’s scan­dal

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Apromi­nent K-pop mu­sic video di­rec­tor was yes­ter­day as part of a cor­rup­tion scan­dal rock­ing South Korea and en­gulf­ing Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye. Cha EunTaek, who has worked with “Gang­nam Style” star Psy and boy band megas­tars Big Bang, used his ties to a se­cret con­fi­dante of Park to win lu­cra­tive projects from state agen­cies and pri­vate firms, pros­e­cu­tors say. That con­fi­dante-Choi Soon-Sil-has been la­beled Park’s em­i­nence grise, a shad­owy fig­ure who is be­lieved to have lever­aged her close re­la­tion­ship with the pres­i­dent to ex­tract more than $60 mil­lion from top firms, in­clud­ing Sam­sung.

Pros­e­cu­tors say Park her­self or­dered her for­mer eco­nomic ad­viser to help Cha pres­sure of­fi­cials and pri­vate firms so that he would win con­tracts. Cha, 46, has been charged with abuse of power, co­er­cion and em­bez­zle­ment and be­comes the lat­est pub­lic fig­ure to be em­broiled in the snow­balling scan­dal. Choi, 60, is ac­cused of med­dling in a wide range of state af­fairs in­clud­ing the coun­try’s prepa­ra­tions for the 2018 Win­ter Olympics. Pros­e­cu­tors last week for­mally charged her with abuse of power and co­er­cion, say­ing Park was a “co-cul­prit” who had col­luded with Choi to stron­garm top firms into giv­ing cash to non-profit foun­da­tions Choi con­trolled.

Park-now the first South Korean pres­i­dent to be­come a crim­i­nal sus­pect while in of­fice-has re­jected a se­ries of re­quests from pros­e­cu­tors to an­swer their ques­tions. As a sit­ting pres­i­dent, Park can­not be charged with a crim­i­nal of­fence ex­cept in­sur­rec­tion or trea­son, but she can be in­ves­ti­gated and po­ten­tially charged once her term is over.

Park is faced with grow­ing pub­lic calls to re­sign and a push by law­mak­ers to im­peach her, with her job ap­proval rat­ings div­ing to record lows of four per­cent. Hun­dreds of thou­sands have taken to the streets in re­cent weeks to call for her ouster, with or­ga­niz­ers claim­ing the lat­est rally on Satur­day in Seoul drew 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple. — AFP

K-pop mu­sic video di­rec­tor Cha Eun-taek

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