UPDATE : 2019.11.18 MON 11:27
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Park's friend compelled to undergo questioning over corruption scandal

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- Investigators on Wednesday executed the arrest warrant issued against a close friend of President Park Geun-hye, who is at the center of an influence-peddling scandal, after she repeatedly refused to respond to their summons, the probe team said.

The investigation team went to the detention center near Seoul to compel Choi Soon-sil to appear before its office to undergo questioning.

The Seoul Central District Court on Monday issued the warrant for Choi Soon-sil for obstruction of duty over alleged irregularities committed in the course of her daughter's entrance to a local university and other academic affairs.

Choi, indicted for a string of corruption allegations, has already been in custody since last year, but has declined to answer the investigation team's summons, citing health issues and her own trial. She also citied a "repressive investigation" as a reason she declined to undergo the questioning.

The team, led by special prosecutor Park Young-soo, could not force her to appear at its office, as the detention warrant under which she is held was issued for other charges sought from the state prosecutors. The prosecution officially handed over the case to Park's team last month.

In this file photo taken on Dec. 19, 2016, Choi Soon-sil (R), a close confidante of President Park Geun-hye, lowers her head while sitting in the dock during the first preparatory hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul. She is at the center of the influence-peddling scandal that has led to Park's impeachment. On the left is her lawyer, Lee Kyung-jae. (Press corps-Yonhap)

"Choi will cooperate with the execution," her lawyer Lee Kyung-jae told Yonhap News Agency by phone. "Still, we hope the special investigation team carries out the interrogation in a free, not oppressive, atmosphere."

The writ is valid for 48 hours from execution.



Park So-yeon  edt@koeapost.com

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