S. Korean President’s lawyers challenge graft claims

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Seoul, March 6 (IANS) South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s lawyers and allies reacted angrily on Monday to the independent prosecution’s final report on its 70-day investigation which reaffirmed her as a suspect in multiple corruption cases.

Independent counsel Park Young-soo’s team announced the results of its probe into the massive presidential scandal, claiming Park is a suspected accomplice to her friend Choi Soon-sil in taking bribes from Samsung Group’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong.

The investigators also linked her to an allegedly illegal blacklisting of cultural figures, Yonhap news agency reported.

Her lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha rebutted all the allegations and denounced the special prosecutors as “politically biased”.

In a statement released immediately after the probe team’s final press briefing, he said the independent counsel announced the probe result belatedly, “only to influence the impeachment trial on the President”.

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The independent counsel team finished the probe last Tuesday.

Park is awaiting the Constitutional Court’s decision on her impeachment after Parliament voted to oust her in December.

The ruling Liberty Korea Party also said it is worried about the probe team’s announcement “based on biased public opinion”.

Independent counsel Park earlier said the delay of the announcement of the results was due to time constraints.

“The decision not to extend the investigation period came just one day before it expired,” he said.

The President’s lawyer Yoo said Park has no knowledge of a contract between Samsung and Choi and that she was not involved in creating or managing the alleged blacklist.

“The independent counsel’s claim (on Park’s bribery allegations) is not worth consideration and is a fiction totally, far from factual relations,” Yoo said in the statement.

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