Prosecution Arrests Choi Soon-sil

Anchor: After hours of questioning, prosecutors placed under emergency detention 60-year-old Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of a huge political scandal and faces charges of using her close ties to President Park Geun-hye to meddle in state affairs. The prosecution has 48 hours to request a warrant for her official arrest.

Kim Bum-soo has more.

Report: The prosecution has placed Choi Soon-sil behind bars some nine hours after she appeared for questioning on Monday.

An official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said that the friend of the president was arrested at around 11:57 p.m. Monday in the investigation into a massive influence-peddling scandal. Choi then was transported to a detention center in Seoul.

The official explained that the emergency ‘arrest without warrant’ came as investigators deemed the suspect to be a flight risk, citing her previous record of fleeing overseas. The official also noted that the suspect is denying various allegations and could also attempt to destroy evidence.

Choi is said to have displayed signs of mental instability, which also made the prosecution wary of what might happen if she is released.

The prosecution has 48 hours to request a warrant for her official arrest.

In addition to President Park Geun-hye’s acknowledgment that Choi edited some of her speeches, the 60-year old is suspected of wielding influence in policy and personnel decisions. She is also allegedly involved in illicit business activities tied to the Mir and K-Sports foundations, for which she is accused of pressuring businesses for fundraising worth some 80 billion won.

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

A tablet PC obtained by cable channel JTBC that reportedly belongs to Choi contained drafts of President Park’s speeches and other documents suggesting that she could have viewed foreign and national security related documents.

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