Prosecutors in standoff at S. Korea president's office

It was the first time investigators had sought to search the top security complex for evidence since Park was impeached by parliament in December over the influence-peddling and power abuse scandal. 

Prosecutors in standoff at S. Korea president's office

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korean prosecutors investigating a massive corruption scandal engulfing impeached President Park Geun-Hye attempted to raid the presidential Blue House on Friday, sparking a stand-off with security guards. 

A platoon of prosecutors wielding a court search warrant and their assistants were immediately stopped by security guards as they tried to enter the premises.

The stand-off lasted about five hours before the prosecutors withdrew.

"We will send an official request" to the acting leader, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn, for permission to enter the Blue House, a spokesman for the prosecutors said.

The prosecutors have no legal means to enforce the search at the Blue House without permission as the complex is considered a top military security zone, he said.

But Hwang has close ties to the impeached president and the possiblity of his agreeing to the search is considered next to nil. 

A presidential spokesman said the Blue House was profoundly opposed to a search but was willing to present documents and other materials prosecutors wanted to look over.

Park is accused of colluding with a longtime friend, Choi Soon-Sil, to strong-arm donations worth tens of millions of dollars from top firms to dubious foundations controlled by Choi.

The president is also accused of using her influence to ensure the merger of two Samsung units in 2015 to help facilitate a father-to-son power succession of Samsung's founding family, allegedly in return for bribes given to Choi.

The prosecutors' action comes as prosecutors plan to interrogate Park face-to-face next week.

The Constitutional Court has until June to decide whether to approve the impeachment, in which case new elections must be held within 60 days, or reinstate her.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Şubat 2017, 11:34
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