President Park will not participate in questioning by prosecutors: Lawyer
A lawyer representing South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the embattled president will not subject herself to questioning by prosecutors over an influence-peddling scandal.
Park is under intense pressure to step down over the scandal, which involves one of her close associates. A parliamentary vote to impeach her over the case could take place as early as this week.
Her lawyer, Yoo Yeong-ha, said in a statement on Monday that Park had to deal with the “fast-moving situation” and there was little time for her to cooperate with prosecutors, who had asked to question the president by Tuesday.
“It is regrettable that the president cannot cooperate with the face-to-face questioning the prosecutors have asked for by November 29,” Yoo said.
The lawyer had earlier said that the president would prepare for an investigation by a special prosecutor that is expected next month, instead of responding to the current investigation.
While Park has apologized for the influence-peddling scandal involving her long-time confidante Choi Soon-sil, who has been detained for fraud and abuse of power, she has defied demands for her resignation. She had also promised to cooperate with prosecutors, despite a constitutional ban on questioning a sitting president.
Choi stands accused of interference in government affairs, despite lacking any official position in Park’s administration.
Choi, 60, allegedly used her close ties with Park to coerce donations from large companies to non-profit foundations which she set up and used for personal gain.
The scandal has sparked mass nationwide rallies calling for her resignation. About 1.5 million South Koreans rallied on Saturday in central Seoul in the largest of a series of recent demonstrations against Park and the largest protests in general since 1987.
Meanwhile, Park’s approval ratings has plunged to a record low for a sitting president as her top advisers and a number of the most powerful corporations in the nation are caught up in the swelling scandal.