S. Korean president suspected of conspiring with indicted confidante, former aides

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is suspected of having conspiring with her longtime confidante and former aides, who were indicted on Sunday for multiple charges, prosecutors said in an interim announcement of investigation results.

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Park has a complicity “to a significant extent” with the three criminal suspects in multiple offenses, the head of a special investigative unit in the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office in charge of the case told a nationally televised press conference.

The announcement indicated the prosecution office regards President Park as a criminal suspect in its investigation. The special unit chief said such interim results are based on comprehensive evidence materials collected by prosecutors.

Park, however, cannot be indicted for criminal charges as the country’s constitution bans a sitting president from being criminally indicted until a single, five-year term ends, according to the prosecution office.

Prosecutors plan to continue an investigation into the president, the special unit head said, as the incumbent leader can be placed under a criminal investigation if the indictment is suspended by the end of presidency.

The prosecution office requested a face-to-face questioning of the scandal-hit president last week, but Park’s attorney delayed it to next week, citing lack of preparations.

President Park would be hard to avoid a direct questioning of herself next week as prosecutors hinted at strong will to look into the president.

Choi Soon-sil, Park’s decades-long friend, was indicted by prosecutors for abuse of power, coercion, attempted coercer and attempted fraud. Ahn Jong-beom, former senior presidential secretary on policy coordination, was charged for abuse of power, coercer and attempted coercion.

Choi is suspected of asking President Park to order Ahn to pressure local conglomerates into donating tens of millions of U.S. dollars to two nonprofit foundations presumably controlled by Choi.

Jeong Ho-seong, former presidential secretary, was indicted for leakage of official secrets. Jeong is dubbed here as one of “three knobs of a door” that leads directly into President Park as he aided her for almost two decades.

Park is suspected of ordering Jeong to bring presidential documents on secret defense and diplomatic affairs to Choi in a bid to get recommendations from her longtime friend, a private citizen having no public position. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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