South Korean President Park’s lawyer says questioning should be kept to minimum

Ms Park Geun Hye will be the first South Korean president to be questioned by prosecutors over a criminal case. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - A lawyer for South Korean President Park Geun Hye said on Tuesday (Nov 15) that he believed it was improper to investigate a president except on suspicion of treason and that prosecutors' questioning should be kept to a minimum.

Lawyer Yoo Yeong Ha, speaking to reporters, nevertheless repeated the President's remarks that she would make herself available for the prosecutors' investigation into a political scandal engulfing her administration.

Ms Park will be the first sitting president to be questioned by prosecutors over a criminal case.

Her lawyer said he will discuss with prosecutors arrangements for their questioning of the President, the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

Ms Park's presidency has been rocked by allegations that a personal friend used her ties to meddle in state affairs and wield improper influence.

Her approval rating remained at all-time low for a second week. Hundreds of thousands marched in the capital Seoul on Saturday, demanding that she resign.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Ms Park exerted improper pressure on "chaebol" conglomerate bosses to raise funds for foundations involving her friend, the Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

They are also investigating her friend, Choi Soon Sil, who is alleged to have used her ties to the President to meddle in state affairs, a prosecutor has previously said.

In the middle of the deepening political crisis, the leader of the main opposition party proposed talks with Ms Park on Monday but later cancelled the offer due to strong party opposition as well as from other lawmakers.

Another apology by Ms Park and an offer to work with opposition to form a new Cabinet and relinquish some of her powers failed to quell the crisis, prompting opponents to say she did not grasp its severity.

Ms Park said earlier this month prosecutors should clarify what happened and that everyone involved should be held accountable, including herself, and take responsibility if found guilty.

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