South Korean prosecutors independently investigating the presidential scandal on Friday tried to search the presidential Blue House, but officials blocked the attempt for reason of possible leakage of top secrets.
The independent counsel team said that it put forward the search and seizure warrant toward the Blue House at about 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT), without elaborating further.
The special prosecutors attempted to enter inside the offices of Cheong Wa Dae to confiscate materials linked to the scandal, which led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.
The confiscation warrant was reportedly issued by a Seoul court on Thursday night, and its 7-day expiration date was extended to allow the prosecutors enough time to repeatedly attempt the search and seizure.
Citing possible leakage of top secrets, the Cheong Wa Dae has refused to accept the search and seizure in recent months.
General prosecutors, who had probed the scandal before the independent counsel team was launched on Dec. 21, attempted in vain to search Park’s office. President Park refused to be interrogated by general prosecutors despite her pledge to accept it.
In December, the special parliamentary committee to separately probe the scandal was blocked from going inside the Blue House for on-spot investigation.
On the search and seizure warrant sought by the independent counsel, President Park was identified as a criminal suspect on charges of bribery as well as abuse of power, according to local media reports.
Subject to the confiscation would be the offices of senior presidential secretaries as well as the medial office and the security office. It would the biggest search and seizure prosecutors ever attempted.
President Park, who special prosecutors see as the one who shares private assets with her friend Choi Soon-sil, is suspected of receiving bribes from Samsung Group in return for helping Samsung’s two affiliates merged in July 2015.
The merger is viewed as very crucial to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to inherit the group’s overall management control from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalized for over two and a half years.
The impeached leader is also suspected of excluding anti-government artists from getting financial assistance by compiling a blacklist in the cultural field. Enditem