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Special counsel vows to grill Park

A special counsel appointed to investigate a scandal engulfing President Park Geun-hye vowed Friday to question the president in person, saying a face-to-face interrogation was a principle that should apply to all subjects of the forthcoming probe.

“The public’s desire is for the special counsel team to unearth the whole truth and I intend to do just that and devote my everything to it,” Park Young-soo, former chief of the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office, told reporters. 

Special counsel Park Young-soo (Yonhap)
Special counsel Park Young-soo (Yonhap)

President Park, while refusing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation by state prosecutors, has said through her lawyer that she would fully cooperate with the special counsel-led probe.

The counsel, who was recommended by the opposition parties and appointed by the president Wednesday, is currently forming a 105-strong special investigative team, the largest in size in South Korean history. Upon his appointment, the 64-year-old has pledged a no-holds-barred investigation of the presidential scandal.

Park also hinted Friday that his probe will look into suspicions that the ongoing prosecutorial probe hasn’t covered. This includes the so-called “mystery of seven missing hours” and the alleged cult influence from Park’s late “mentor” Choi Tae-min whose daughter, Choi Soon-sil, was the epicenter of a massive scandal that now threatens the presidency of Park Geun-hye.

“We will also look into the seven hours of President Park,” he said.

On April 16, 2014, the day of the ferry disaster, Park did not appear in public until seven hours after the incident, ostensibly lacking a proper understanding of the incident that killed nearly 300, mostly teenagers. This led to various lurid rumors including one of cosmetic treatment taking place at Park’s presidential residence.

On accusations that Park ran the country under a religious influence of the deceased cult leader Choi Tae-min and his daughter Choi Soon-sil, the counsel said: “If the alleged crimes originated from Choi Tae-min, we should look into that too.”

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