Shocked aide ex­presses re­morse for old friend

New Straits Times - - World -

The woman at the cen­tre of an in­flu­ence-ped­dling scan­dal that led to the dis­missal of Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye was lost for words with re­morse yes­ter­day and ex­pressed her sor­row to her old friend and the coun­try, her lawyer said.

Choi Soon-sil, Park’s friend and con­fi­dante for decades, heard the news of the dis­missal by the con­sti­tu­tional court from her lawyers in a trial hear­ing at a sep­a­rate court, said her lawyers Lee Kyung-jae.

“She apol­o­gised to the pres­i­dent and the peo­ple for mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion come to this.

“Her feel­ings are be­yond words and we keep her up­dated as much as we can,” Lee said.

Choi has been charged with pres­sur­ing big busi­nesses to pay money to foun­da­tions that backed Park’s pol­icy ini­tia­tives. She faces ad­di­tional charges of bribery over what the spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor said was her col­lu­sion with Park to take bribes from cor­po­rate gi­ant Sam­sung. She, like Park, has de­nied wrong­do­ing.

The Sam­sung Group, whose chief, Jay Y. Lee, is also fac­ing trial over the scan­dal, has also de­nied wrong­do­ing.

The JoongAng Ilbo news­pa­per said Choi looked stunned when she got news of Park’s dis­missal. She sat with an ex­pres­sion­less face and took a sip of wa­ter.

Choi is be­ing held alone in a cell and is not al­lowed con­tact with other in­mates, ac­cord­ing to the Seoul De­ten­tion Cen­tre, where ar­rested politi­cians and cor­po­rate chiefs are usu­ally held.

Fel­low in­mates in­clude Sam­sung’s Lee.

Choi Soon-sil

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