Probe against South Korean President delayed

Seoul, Nov 16 (IANS) The prosecutors probing scandal-hit South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday have delayed their investigation indefinitely as the President’s counsel has requested it to minimise the number of people being probed.

The prosecution office had claimed the need for a face-to-face questioning of President Park no later than Wednesday given that it plans to indict around Saturday Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is suspected of intervening in state affairs from the shadows, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the President’s attorney said on Tuesday that the number of the face-to-face questioning should be minimised as rival political parties agreed to a bill to appoint a special prosecutor who will probe into the case independently.

Questioning the President through documents would be desirable, the attorney said.

Prosecutors said it can investigate President Park on Thursday, but the direct questioning looks hard to be carried out by the current investigative unit of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office incapable of forcing the president to be investigated.

The attorney, who is seeking to let the President avoid multiple investigations, is forecast to accept a document questioning by the current investigative unit and allow the special prosecutor to directly investigate the president after allegations prove to be true.

Under the country’s constitution, a President has immunity from being criminally executed except for charges of treason and insurrection, but investigation is allowed if the indictment is suspended until the end of single, five-year term.