Anchor: The prosecution is zeroing in on the president to shed light on her involvement in the Choi Soon-sil influence-peddling scandal. While indicting President Park Geun-hye's friend Choi and former presidential aides on Sunday, the special investigation team said that the president is an accomplice in the case despite her immunity from criminal lawsuits.
Our Kim Bum-soo has more.
Report: The prosecution has pressed charges against Choi Soon-sil and two former presidential aides and accused President Park Geun-hye of conspiring with them.
After indicting the three for a trial Sunday morning, chief Lee Young-ryul of the special investigation team held a briefing to reveal the result of the probe into the massive influence-peddling scandal involving Park's friend of 40 years.
[Sound bite: Lee Young-ryul - chief prosecutor, Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office (Korean)]
"The special investigation team has concluded that the president is an accomplice regarding many criminal allegations of Choi Soon-sil, An Chong-bum and Jeong Ho-seong, based on evidence secured so far. But due to the president's immunity from criminal lawsuits in Article 84 of the Constitution, we cannot indict her. However, we will continue to investigate the president... "
Choi and former presidential secretary An Chong-bum are charged with abuse of power and extortion. The prosecution said that the two pressured 53 companies to donate a total of 77-point-five billion won, or over 65 million dollars, to create the Mir and K-Sports foundations.
Park's former presidential private affairs secretary Jeong Ho-seong is accused of leaking some 180 presidential documents to Choi until April of this year. Among the documents, 47 contained classified information, including the candidate lists of the president's minister and vice-minister nominees.
In the bills of indictment, the prosecution specified that the three perpetrated the crime, "while conspiring with the president." It also stated that the president had requested Choi to operate the foundations in question.
The prosecution had to indict the three without a chance to question the president. But since late October, investigators seized the former private secretary's mobile phone and the former chief policy coordinator's schedule planner notebook and other key evidence after raiding their offices and residences.
The president has agreed to be questioned by the prosecution sometime this week.
The South Korean Constitution grants incumbent presidents immunity from criminal lawsuits unless they are accused of treason or other serious crimes of such gravity. But the prosecution's accusation of the president further pushed her to the corner amid massive nationwide protests calling for her resignation.
In addition to the prosecution's ongoing investigation into the scandal, President Park also faces a separate independent counsel, who will command 20 prosecutors and 40 investigators for a 70-day probe. The independent counsel is expected to be appointed early next month.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.
Source : KBS World Radio