Protesters hold a "candlelight rally" for the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul on February 11. Rival demonstrations for and against Park jammed the streets of Seoul. Her impeachment trial ended Monday. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The independent counsel team investigating South Korea's presidential corruption scandal announced Monday that remaining suspects will be indicted Tuesday.
Ten to 15 people face indictment in a scandal that led to the Dec. 9 impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. She is accused of allowing Choi Soon-sil, a confidante, to be involved in state business. Choi is also accused of colluding to extort $37.8 million from South Korean conglomerates in exchange for business favors. Three executives of Samsung Electronics Industries also face bribery charges, the Korea Times reported.
Investigators expressed regret that they were unable to question Park or Choi, and that they were not permitted to search the Blue House, or Cheong Wa Dae, the residence and office of the president. A search was attempted on Feb. 3, but investigators were denied entry on grounds that the building is a national security zone.
"The team sought to question the president, but Park's legal representatives refused the request. There were differences in each side's stance, because negotiations for the president's questioning were taking place after an earlier deal fell through," investigating team spokesman Lee Kyu-chul said.
Final arguments in Park's impeachment trial concluded Monday, with the Constitutional Court preparing to issue a review of the impeachment's legality by early March. Park did not appear before the court, but Monday her lawyer read a statement in which she said she received only inconsequential advice from Choi. Park also denied any involvement in corruption.
He prosecution's final argument included Park's alleged neglect of duty when over 300 people died in the 2014 sinking of a South Korean ferry boat. If the court upholds the impeachment, Park will be removed from office and a new presidential election will be called within 60 days.