South Korean President’s ex-aides questioned over scandal involvement

Seoul, Nov 14 (IANS) Two former aides to South Korean President Park Geun-hye were summoned by prosecutors on Monday for alleged involvement in a scandal surrounding Choi Soon-sil, Park’s longtime confidante suspected of intervening in state affairs.

Lee Jae-man and Ahn Bong-geun, former presidential secretaries who had assisted Park for about two decades, appeared in the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning, Xinhua news agency reported.

The former aides are called as “three knobs of a door” that leads directly into the president, along with Jeong Ho-seong, former presidential advisor who has been arrested for alleged involvement in the leakage of confidential presidential documents to Choi.

Choi has reportedly been engaged in government affairs though the 60-year-old private citizen has no public position and security clearance.

Allegations range from selecting wardrobe of Park to intervention in the appointment of senior government officials, to the editing of presidential speeches and recommendations on government policies.

Jeong is suspected of bringing secret presidential documents to Choi on a daily basis, while Lee in charge of presidential documents may have connived in the leakage.

Ahn is alleged to have granted Choi a free pass at the checkpoint of the presidential office.

Prosecutors requested a direct investigation into the embattled President on Tuesday or Wednesday as Park said she would accept the probe if necessary.

Public anger was not appeased despite Park’s public apologies twice as over a million South Koreans took to the streets over the weekend to demand the President’s resignation.