Sunday 23 July 2017

Impeached South Korean leader pulls out of questioning over corruption scandal

Park Geun-hye had agreed to be questioned over her alleged involvement in the corruption scandal that led to her impeachment
Park Geun-hye had agreed to be questioned over her alleged involvement in the corruption scandal that led to her impeachment

South Korea's impeached president has cancelled plans to undergo questioning in protest at leaks to the media about the investigation, according to p rosecutors.

Park Geun-hye had agreed to be questioned by prosecutors on Thursday over her alleged involvement in the corruption scandal that led to her impeachment.

Prosecutors said both sides had agreed not to disclose the time and place of the questioning until it was over.

Prosecution spokesman Lee Kyu-chul said Ms Park's lawyers told his team they were pulling out of the questioning after accusing prosecutors of leaking information about it.

The accusation came after SBS TV reported on Tuesday that Ms Park would be questioned on Thursday at the presidential Blue House.

Mr Lee said prosecutors did not leak the information.

The sudden rejection of what would have been the first prosecutorial questioning of a sitting president is the latest in a series of stand-offs between Ms Park and prosecutors digging into her alleged involvement in the biggest political scandal in South Korea in decades.

The scandal saw millions take to the streets in protest and led to Ms Park's impeachment in December.

The Constitutional Court is holding a trial to determine whether to formally end her rule or reinstate her presidential powers.

Mr Lee said prosecutors still want to question Ms Park but nothing has been determined about when it might happen.

Ms Park faces allegations that she let a long-time confidante, Choi Soon-sil, pull government stings from the shadows and extort an enormous amount money from companies in collaboration with presidential officials.

Choi and several of Ms Park's former presidential aides have already been investigated over the scandal.

By South Korean law, a president has immunity from prosecution while in office, except in cases of grave crimes such as treason.

Ms Park's officials have also blocked prosecutors from searching the Blue House.

AP

Press Association

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