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South Korea President Corruption Scandal: Park Geun-hye's Close Friend Arrested

By November 3, 2016 at 1:58 pm
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images News)

A South Korean court has approved an arrest warrant for President President Park Geun-hye's close friend Choi Soon-sil, who was in custody over allegations for a corruption scandal.

Choi's father, Choi Tae-min, is the founder of an obscure religious sect, and served as a spiritual adviser to President Park's father, the South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee, and to Ms. Park after her mother was assassinated in 1974, according to The New York Times. Following Choi Tae-min's death, Choi Soon-sil became Park's aide, interfered in state affairs despite her lack of experience. 

Almost $70 million of donations were solicited to the foundations she controlled. 

While the president apologized to her nation last week for giving Choi access to certain documents, she refused to let prosecutors search aides' offices in the presidential offices, and questions remain over the full extent of their relationships.

"Choi advised me on expressions in my speeches and public relations during the last presidential campaign and she continued to help me for a certain period of time after I took office," Park explained.

"I deeply apologize to the people." 

South Koreans, however, have rallied day after day calling for Park's resignation. Her approval rating dropped to record low of 9%, according to a recent poll. 

In 2012, Park can be recalled promising to end South Korea's political corruptions, saying, "I have no child to inherit my properties. You, the people, are my only family, and to make you happy is the reason I do politics." 

The scandal has shattered her reputation and accountability.  

"The revelations, about just how much influence this one woman with no official government position might have wielded over the government, point to a discomfiting possibility," Se-woong Koo, editor of the Korea Exposé Web magazine, said in a post. 

"Power in this country doesn't completely belong to a legitimately elected leader. Instead, the president is in thrall to a shadowy figure who pursues her private agenda."

The President could be questioned by prosecutors if required in the investigation, Justice Minister Kim Hyun-Woong told parliament on Thursday.

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