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Park denies all corruption allegations

All Headlines 16:50 January 01, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Sunday denied allegations against her of involvement in a corruption scandal surrounding her longtime confidante, as the Constitutional Court accelerates its legal review of her impeachment case.

The president expressed frustration at what she termed "distorted and false" suspicions and "erroneous" media coverage, during the New Year's greeting meeting with reporters, the first such event since she was impeached on Dec. 9 over the highly-charged scandal.

Park also vowed to "conscientiously" respond to the ongoing probe, which Independent Counsel Park Young-soo launched last month to look into multiple charges against the president, including abuse of authority, coercion and leaking of official secrets.

"Rumors, stories and broadcasts have been distorted, and false information has been getting out of hand," Park said during the meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. "Misunderstandings have begotten misunderstandings, and erroneous reports led to the reproduction of other erroneous reports ... I feel heavy-hearted."

Last month, Park's attorneys already repudiated all charges against her, urging the Constitutional Court to overturn the parliament's impeachment decision. The court will determine whether to unseat Park or reinstate her after a legal review that could last up to six months.

Park has faced charges that she allowed her friend Choi Soon-sil -- without any government post or security clearance -- to meddle in important state affairs, including top-level personnel appointments.

The president is also suspected of playing a role in pressuring large local conglomerates such as Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group to dole out large sums of money to two non-profit foundations that have been found to have links with Choi. Investigations so far found Choi did not take any money from the Mir and K-Sports foundations, with state prosecutors charging her with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Choi, however, did receive money from the Samsung Group in the form sports-related sponsorships, which in themselves may not be illegal, even though details need to be checked.

Another charge is about Park's alleged inaction during a 2014 ferry disaster that left more than 300 passengers, mostly young students, dead or missing.

This photo, taken on Dec. 9, 2016, shows President Park Geun-hye speaking during a meeting with Cabinet ministers at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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