South Korean President’s confidant placed under emergency detention

Seoul, Nov 1 (IANS) Choi Soon-sil, a longtime confidant of South Korean President Park Geun-hye suspected of having meddled in state affairs, was placed under emergency detention on Tuesday after hours of questioning by prosecutors on risks of fleeing and destroying evidence

Choi, who testified on Monday at a prosecutor’s office in Seoul after passing through a massive crowd of media, “is in an extremely unstable psychological state, and it’s possible an unexpected event could occur if she is released,” a prosecution official told Yonhap News Agency.

The prosecution believes that, if left free, the 60-year-old woman may attempt to flee the country or destroy evidence on the allegations of corruption and peddling influence which she is suspected of being involved in.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office now has 48 hours to seek a warrant to formally arrest Choi, who previously denied all of the charges against her on Monday.

The woman, who does not hold any public office but is believed to have exercised a great personal influence on Park Geun-hye for years, is accused of having used her personal relationship with the president to access confidential documents and covertly interfere in state affairs, Efe news reported.

Prosecutors also believe that, by using her links with Park, she pressured some companies to donate generous grants to two state foundations, Mir and K-Sports, and subsequently took over some parts of the funds.

On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets of downtown Seoul to demand the resignation of the head of state, whose approval ratings are dropping.