Pres­i­dent Park re­fuses to be ques­tioned by pros­e­cu­tors

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SOUTH Korean Pres­i­dent Park Ge­unhye will not an­swer ques­tions from pros­e­cu­tors over a snow­balling in­flu­ence-ped­dling scan­dal rock­ing her pres­i­dency, her lawyer said.

Pros­e­cu­tors de­scribe Ms Park and her se­cret con­fi­dante, Choi Soon-sil, as co-cul­prits in the scan­dal. They are ac­cused of co­erc­ing top Seoul firms to donate over US$60 mil­lion to non­profit foun­da­tions which Ms Choi then used for per­sonal gain.

Ms Choi was charged last week with co­er­cion and abuse of power.

The scan­dal has sparked na­tion­wide fury, with hun­dreds of thou­sands tak­ing to the streets to call for Ms Park’s oust­ing.

A par­lia­men­tary vote to im­peach Ms Park could take place as early as this week as a grow­ing num­ber of rul­ing party politi­cians back the op­po­si­tion-led cam­paign to oust her.

Ms Park had vowed to co­op­er­ate “sin­cerely” with the le­gal probe but has re­jected a se­ries of re­quests in re­cent weeks by pros­e­cu­tors to make her­self avail­able for ques­tion­ing.

“We re­gret we can’t co­op­er­ate with the re­quest from pros­e­cu­tors to hold face-to-face ques­tion­ing on Novem­ber 29,” Yoo Young-ha, Ms Park’s lawyer, said yes­ter­day.

Seoul pros­e­cu­tors gave Ms Park an ul­ti­ma­tum last week, say­ing to­day is the fi­nal dead­line for ques­tion­ing be­fore a pow­er­ful in­de­pen­dent team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors takes over the probe in De­cem­ber.

But Ms Park, the first South Korean pres­i­dent to be­come a crim­i­nal sus­pect while in of­fice, is too busy han­dling state af­fairs and pre­par­ing a le­gal de­fence against the mount­ing ac­cu­sa­tions, Mr Yoo said.

As a sit­ting pres­i­dent, Ms 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 next year.

The pres­i­dent is also ac­cused of let­ting Ms Choi, daugh­ter of a shady re­li­gious fig­ure who was a long­time men­tor to Ms Park, med­dle in state af­fairs in­clud­ing the nom­i­na­tion of top of­fi­cials. –

Photo: AFP

Protesters shout slo­gans as they march to­ward the pres­i­den­tial Blue House to press their de­mand for the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye.

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