Will accept probe over corruption scandal if necessary: South Korean President

Seoul, Nov 4 (IANS) South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Friday she will accept an investigation over a corruption scandal involving her close confidante “if necessary”, raising the prospect of her becoming the first sitting South Korean head of state to face a prosecutorial probe.

During a nationally televised address to the nation, Park renewed her apology for the political scandal involving Choi Soon-sil that has sent her approval ratings into free fall and prompted nationwide calls for her resignation, Yonhap news agency reported.

“If necessary, I am determined to faithfully respond to a prosecutorial investigation myself,” Park said in a voice choked with emotion.

She added that she would also accept a special probe by an independent counsel that the ruling and opposition parties have been seeking to enact.

Park faces accusations that she allowed Choi access to advance drafts of her public speeches and presidential documents, some of which reportedly included confidential information, possibly in breach of a law governing the handling of presidential records.

The president is also suspected of playing a role in raising funds from major conglomerates to establish two non-profit foundations dedicated to promoting Korean culture and sports.

Choi is being investigated to determine if she misappropriated money from these foundations and if she submits to a probe, it will mark a first in South Korea’s history.