Choi Soon-sil Appears for Prosecution’s Questioning

Anchor: Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the center of the Park Geun-hye administration's biggest scandal, has shown up at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to be questioned. She will be interrogated by the prosecution on allegations she used her personal connections with the president to meddle in state affairs.

Kim Bum-soo has more.

Report: After leaving the Park Geun-hye administration embroiled in an unprecedented political crisis, Choi Soon-sil appeared before the prosecution.

Amid public outcry over her alleged meddling in state affairs and illicit business practices, the controversial friend of the president was surrounded by a crowd of reporters upon arrival at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Monday.

After rushing into the building with her face partially covered by a hat and scarf, she said in front of the elevators that she is sorry to the public for committing an unpardonable crime.

[Sound bite: Choi Soon-sil (Korean)]

"I am sorry. I committed an unpardonable crime..."

Protesters were also present, holding up picket signs demanding the resignation of the president and Choi's arrest.

In an apologetic news conference last week, President Park admitted that Choi edited some of her speeches. But the 60-year old is also suspected of wielding influence in policy and personnel decisions and being involved in shady business schemes tied to the Mir and K-Sports foundations.

The prosecution will try to find out if she and the presidential office were involved in the 80-billion won, or nearly 72-million U.S. dollar, fundraising efforts for the two private foundations, which are suspected to have been established to be used for the president's post-retirement activities.

In a previous interview with the daily Segye Ilbo, Choi denied reports by cable channel JTBC that her tablet PC was found containing presidential speeches and traces that suggest she reviewed foreign and national security-related documents.

Following her entry into the building, Choi's defense attorney said he and his client will make sure they fully cooperate with the investigation, and that Choi couldn't have destroyed evidence since she came back home Sunday from overseas. The lawyer also said that his client is having heart problems and experiencing panic attacks.

Sources said that charges against Choi could include embezzlement, tax evasion, violation of presidential record and foreign currency regulations just to name a few.

She is also accused of arranging her equestrian daughter to be unfairly admitted to Ewha Womans University's undergraduate sports program, where she was again blamed for receiving preferential treatment.

Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

Source: KBS World Radio