Pres­i­dent Park hires lawyer ahead of ques­tion­ing

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SOUTH Korea’s Pres­i­dent Park Ge­un­hye has hired a lawyer ahead of ques­tion­ing by pros­e­cu­tors over a snow­balling po­lit­i­cal scan­dal that has en­gulfed her ad­min­is­tra­tion, her spokesper­son said yes­ter­day.

Ms Park, who would be the first sit­ting pres­i­dent to be in­ter­ro­gated in a crim­i­nal case, has seen her ap­proval rat­ings plunge, with hun­dreds of thou­sands of pro­test­ers tak­ing to Seoul’s streets on Novem­ber 12 de­mand­ing she re­sign.

The scan­dal cen­tres on Ms Park’s shad­owy con­fi­dant Choi Soon-sil, who is ac­cused of us­ing her ties with the pres­i­dent to co­erce lo­cal firms to do­nate mil­lions of dol­lars to non-profit foun­da­tions that Ms Choi then used for per­sonal ben­e­fit.

Ms Choi, whose fa­ther was a reclu­sive reli­gious fig­ure and a long-time men­tor to Ms Park un­til his death in 1994, was ar­rested ear­lier this month for abuse of power and fraud. Two pres­i­den­tial aides have also been ar­rested.

Ms Choi, 60, is also ac­cused of in­ter­fer­ing in state af­fairs to the ex­tent of nom­i­nat­ing of­fi­cials and edit­ing Ms Park’s speeches even though she has no of­fi­cial ti­tle or se­cu­rity clear­ance.

Pros­e­cu­tors on Novem­ber 13 an­nounced a plan to for­mally quiz Ms Park this week over al­le­ga­tions she helped Ms Choi ex­tract money from the firms and al­lowed pres­i­den­tial aides to leak doc­u­ments to Ms Choi.

Ms Park’s newly re­tained lawyer, Yoo Young-ha, will dis­cuss with Seoul pros­e­cu­tors ex­actly when, where and how the pres­i­dent would be

ques­tioned, a spokesper­son told re­porters yes­ter­day.

Mr Yoo, 54, is a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor and cur­rently a stand­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber on Seoul’s hu­man rights com­mis­sion.

Un­der South Korea’s con­sti­tu­tion, the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent may not be charged with a crim­i­nal of­fence ex­cept in­sur­rec­tion or trea­son.

But many have ar­gued the sit­ting pres­i­dent can be in­ves­ti­gated by pros­e­cu­tors and then charged af­ter leav­ing of­fice.

Photo: AFP

Pro­test­ers shout slo­gans call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye dur­ing an anti-gov­ern­ment rally in cen­tral Seoul on Novem­ber 12.

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