South Korea suspects corruption scandal extends to Myanmar

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Jan. 30, 2017 at 2:42 PM
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Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the center of a political scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye, is suspected of gaining illicit profits from a Seoul aid program in Myanmar, according to the South Korean team investigating the case.

Seoul's Independent Counsel Park Young-soo and his team began investigations into evidence that indicate Choi, 60, interfered with a South Korea Myanmar aid development project, local news service News 1 reported Monday.

Prosecutors have said they are seeking another arrest warrant for Choi, and plan to issue a summons for South Korean Ambassador to Myanmar Yoo Jae-kyung.

Investigations into Yoo, which will begin after he is called in to testify, will be related to whether Choi personally gained from her ties to a government development assistance project in Myanmar.

The venture under probe, dubbed the "K-town project," includes a contract to build a $65 million convention center and bring in South Korea businesses into the country.

Choi may have had a stake in a company overseeing the operations. The profit structure was arranged so Choi would earn revenue if South Korean businesses earned a profit, according to the report.

Choi is also suspected of being involved in the appointment of the top South Korea diplomat to Myanmar.

Yoo may have been asked to fill the post after his predecessor, Ambassador Lee Baek-soon was "uncooperative in the project," News 1 reported.

South Korea investigators say Choi may have met with Yoo directly on several occasions, and Yoo is a former Samsung Group executive.

Prosecutors are still trying to determine whether Samsung Electronics, where Yoo worked as a global marketing chief, had sought favors from Choi by sponsoring the equestrian activities of Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra.

Chung, 20, remains in Denmark, where she is to stay in custody until Feb. 22, Yonhap reported.

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