SKorean leader set to avoid immediate probe

Prosecution may be forced to wait as President Park Geun-hye's lawyer insists on postponement of her questioning

SKorean leader set to avoid immediate probe

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korea's president looks set to miss an already extended deadline for questioning over a major power abuse scandal.

Park Geun-hye's lawyer insisted Thursday that she will not cooperate with state prosecutors until next week.

Having agreed to be questioned despite being legally protected from criminal prosecution by her position, Park had been due to face investigators by Wednesday but her attorney, Yoo Yeong-ha, asked for more time because he was only appointed Tuesday.

Prosecutors remain adamant that they must meet Park face-to-face by Friday, but that now appears to be in doubt.

"I will finish my preparations to represent the president as soon as possible and cooperate so that the questioning can be carried out next week," Yoo said in a statement.

Opposition lawmakers have accused Park of seeking to buy time amid fierce public calls for her resignation.

Over a million people reportedly took part in a Seoul rally last Saturday and organizers say they plan more demonstrations every weekend until the president steps down.

Another practical consideration is that prosecutors have until Sunday to indict Choi Soon-sil, the president's secret confidante suspected of influence-peddling and guiding state affairs despite being a private citizen.

Among a slew of media allegations, Choi's reportedly close relationship with Park has fueled anti-government sentiment and raised suspicions about the extent to which the president may have been involved in any scams.

Meanwhile, the country's parliament has passed a bill to pave the way for an independent investigation.

Candidates to lead the probe will be nominated by the two main opposition parties, overriding the objections of some ruling party members.

The separate probe may not be completed until early next year, but the president's term does not conclude until 2018.

So far the parliament has resisted impeachment proceedings, as political opponents of the president have instead joined demands for her to resign.

 

Last Mod: 17 Kasım 2016, 15:29
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