November 04, 2016 13:33
President Park Geun-hye in a televised address Friday said a crony scandal that has engulfed her administration was "all my fault and mistake."
"I once again apologize from the bottom of my heart for the indescribably great disappointment and worries the case related to Choi Soon-sil has caused," Park said, her voice shaking with emotion.
"I feel a huge responsibility. It is all my fault and mistake... Choi was the person who helped me personally taking care of my personal affairs when I faced the hardest and loneliest moments in my life, ...eventually causing me to overlook the shortcomings of people around me," she said.
Park promised to comply with investigators, though she still sounded incredulous of the extent of the consequences. "I will fully cooperate with the investigation if necessary, and I am willing to accept scrutiny by a special prosecution team," she said.
Park added the scandal, which centers on Choi's unprecedented access to Cheong Wa Dae and alleged embezzlement of billions of won, was "breaking my heart."
The address came after a week of public protests that saw Park's approval rating shrink to a single digit, with each day bringing more revelations about the scale of Choi's entanglement with the presidential office.
But Park denied being a follower of a crackpot cult set up by Choi's father, who became her mentor in the 1970s and has been portrayed as a Rasputin-like figure by the press, allegedly passing on his hold over the president to his daughters when he died in 1994.
"There are some rumors that I fell into shamanism even to let some exorcists perform a shaman ritual at Cheong Wa Dae, but those are absolutely not true," she said.
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