‘Park col­luded with aide in graft scan­dal’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE -

SEOUL: Pros­e­cu­tors said yes­ter­day that Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye col­luded with her close con­fi­dante in a cor­rup­tion and in­flu­ence-ped­dling scan­dal that has sparked mas­sive na­tion­wide protests and calls for her im­peach­ment.

Park’s long­time friend Choi Soon-Sil was charged yes­ter­day with co­er­cion and abuse of power, as was one of the pres­i­dent’s for­mer aides.

Another pres­i­den­tial aide was charged with leak­ing con­fi­den­tial state doc­u­ments.

“The pres­i­dent played a col­lu­sive role in a con­sid­er­able por­tion of the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing the (three) peo­ple,” said pros­e­cu­tor Lee Young-Ryeol.

Choi, 60, has been ac­cused of us­ing her per­sonal ties to Park to med­dle in state af­fairs and of co­erc­ing lo­cal firms to “donate” more than US$60 mil­lion (RM258 mil­lion) to du­bi­ous non-profit foun­da­tions.

She al­legedly then used some of the funds for per­sonal gain.

Park faces al­le­ga­tions that she helped Choi ex­tract money from the firms and that she or­dered her aides to leak state doc­u­ments to Choi, who has no of­fi­cial ti­tle or se­cu­rity clear­ance.

Un­der the con­sti­tu­tion, a sit­ting pres­i­dent can­not be charged with a crim­i­nal of­fence ex­cept in­sur­rec­tion or trea­son. But she can still be probed by pros­e­cu­tors and pos­si­bly charged af­ter leav­ing of­fice. – AFP

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