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Presidential office denies bribery allegations over Park's wardrobe

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday denied allegations that President Park Geun-hye's confidante at the center of a high-profile corruption scandal purchased a large number of clothing and bags as bribes for the president.

Cheong Wa Dae said that the president herself paid for all the clothes and bags, which she bought for official and private occasions through her confidante Choi Soon-sil. It said Choi did not use her own money for Park's garments and accessories.

Choi has been suspected of using her longtime ties to the president to meddle in important state affairs, including government appointments, and extort money and favors from major conglomerates.

"The president exactly paid for all the clothes and bags she purchased through Choi," a presidential official told reporters, declining to be named. "There is nothing that Choi paid for (on behalf of the president)."

During a parliamentary probe into the scandal on Wednesday, Ko Young-tae, who used to be Choi's close business associate, said that his company made some 100 clothing items and 30 to 40 bags, all of which cost some 45 million won ($38,783), for the president.

Ko then claimed that Choi seemed to use her own money to purchase presidential garments, which triggered bribery allegations.

"What I can tell you is that Park made exact payments for all the garments," the presidential official stressed. (Yonhap)