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Independent counsel to officially launch probe into influence-peddling scandal

All Headlines 17:29 December 20, 2016

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) -- The independent counsel team appointed to investigate the influence-peddling scandal centered around President Park Geun-hye and her close friend will officially begin its probe later this week, its spokesman said Tuesday.

After 20 days of preparation, the team, led by independent counsel Park Young-soo, will launch the investigation on Wednesday, spokesman Lee Kyu-chul told a press briefing.

The investigation into President Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil should be completed within 70 days since the official launch and can be extended for another month upon request from the team.

The president is currently awaiting the Constitutional Court's decision after the parliament voted to oust her on Dec. 9 over suspicions she let Choi meddle in state affairs and bully local conglomerates using their ties.

Park has since been suspended of all powers and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has been serving as the country's acting president.

"From Dec. 1 to today, we have ensured necessary investigators, established infrastructure, reviewed investigation materials and contacted some figures involved in the scandal," Lee said.

Park Sang-jin, chief of the external affairs at Samsung Electronics Co., and Chang Choong-ki, head of Samsung's strategy planning department, are known to have been questioned by the investigators.

The investigation team, however, declined to comment on their progress or how the interrogations have been carried out.

Lee Kyu-chul, spokesperson of the special counsel team, speaks during a press briefing held at its pressroom in southern Seoul on Dec. 20, 2016. (Yonhap)


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