The Korea Herald


Ex-presidential secretary grilled over political scandal

By KH디지털2

Published : Nov. 2, 2016 - 14:46

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A former presidential secretary, who recently resigned over the latest political scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye's confidante, was questioned by prosecutors Wednesday.

An Chong-bum appeared before the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to undergo questioning as a suspect over suspicions he was involved in allegedly pressuring local companies to donate some 80 billion won ($70 million) to the nonprofit Mir and K-Sports foundations linked to Choi Soon-sil.

There have been allegations that the money was unlawfully funneled to Choi, who is suspected to be the behind-the-scenes power broker.

"I feel heavy hearted," the former senior secretary for policy coordination told reporters before entering the prosecutors' office. "I will take responsibility for any wrongdoings."

He declined to further comment on allegations raised against him and said he will "tell everything truthfully to the prosecution."

The summons came a few days after Park directed all her top secretaries to submit resignations for the latest scandal and accepted a portion of them, including An's, on Sunday.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Park carried out another round of reshuffle, tapping Kim Byong-joon, who served as policy advisor to late President Roh Moo-hyun, as the new prime minister.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, have been accelerating their investigation into allegations surrounding Choi, suspected of interfering in state affairs and amassing huge profits using her ties to the president.

They said they are also looking into suspicions that the country's largest conglomerate Samsung Group gave some 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million) to Widec Sports in Germany, established by Choi, between September and October last year. The German company is suspected to having been set up to receive funds from the foundations.

"We think everything will be revealed transparently based on the probe result," a Samsung official said, asking not to be named. "We will actively cooperate with the prosecution's investigation." (Yonhap)