Two for­mer aides to S Korea’s pres­i­dent quizzed over scan­dal

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SOUTH Korean prose­cu­tors yes­ter­day ques­tioned two for­mer key pres­i­den­tial aides over al­le­ga­tions they helped a shad­owy con­fi­dant of Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye med­dle in state af­fairs and se­cretly visit her of­fice.

Ms Park has been en­gulfed by a scan­dal that cen­tres on Choi Soon-Sil, who is ac­cused of us­ing her per­sonal ties with the pres­i­dent to co­erce lo­cal firms to do­nate mil­lions of dol­lars to non-profit foun­da­tions Ms Choi then used for per­sonal gain.

Ms Choi, 60, is also ac­cused of in­ter­fer­ing in state af­fairs to the ex­tent of nom­i­nat­ing of­fi­cials and edit­ing Ms Park’s speeches.

Ahn Bong-Geun and Lee Jae-Man, who served as key ad­vi­sors un­til last month, are ac­cused of help­ing Ms Choi visit the pres­i­den­tial of­fice.

They also re­ported state af­fairs or leaked con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments to her.

TV news footage showed the pair sep­a­rately en­ter­ing the Seoul prose­cu­tors’ of­fice yes­ter­day morn­ing as they were mobbed by re­porters.

The two, who served as Ms Park’s aides for decades, were de­scribed by lo­cal me­dia as “door­knobs” to the pres­i­dent who wielded enor­mous power over pol­i­cy­mak­ing.

Two other pres­i­den­tial aides have been ar­rested in the snow­balling in­flu­ence-ped­dling scan­dal.

Ms Choi, whose fa­ther was an elu­sive re­li­gious fig­ure and a long­time men­tor to Ms Park un­til his death in 1994, was ar­rested ear­lier this month for abuse of power and fraud.

The scan­dal has sparked na­tion­wide fury with hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple tak­ing to the streets to call for Ms Park’s res­ig­na­tion and mock­ing her as Ms Choi’s “pup­pet”.

A mass rally held in Seoul on Novem­ber 12 drew one mil­lion peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to or­gan­is­ers, mak­ing it the largest pub­lic protest in the South for nearly three decades.

Ms Park also faces al­le­ga­tions that she helped Ms Choi ex­tract money from lo­cal com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Sam­sung and Hyundai.

Prose­cu­tors are seek­ing to for­mally ques­tion her this week. –

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