March 13, 2017 11:07
Prosecutors were busy over the weekend preparing to investigate former President Park Geun-hye after she was ousted and stripped of her presidential immunity on Friday.
Prosecutors worked throughout the weekend reviewing some 60,000 pages of records handed over by independent counsel Park Young-soo as well as another 50,000 pages from the initial probe by prosecutors into the massive influence-peddling and corruption scandal that brought Park down.
A senior prosecutor said, "Urgency is the main principle in the investigation, just like all other cases." That raises the prospect that Park will be summoned for questioning as early as this week.
As long as she remained nominally in office, Park refused to be questioned, and at one point Cheong Wa Dae staff physically scuffled with prosecutors to stop them searching the compound.
Some media reports said prosecutors are considering slapping Park with a travel ban, but a prosecution source denied this.
One prosecutor at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said, "The right thing to do would be to summon her as soon as possible to minimize social chaos."
Park's longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, with whom she is accused of conspiring in a massive extortion racket, is already on trial together with two Park aides, An Chong-bum and Jeong Ho-seong.
But one lawyer who used to be a high-ranking prosecutor said it could take a while longer. "The independent counsel couldn't complete his investigation of alleged bribery, and there are many things that need to be investigated. Prosecutors could stir up trouble if they give the impression that they are rushing things."
Either way, Park is unlikely to escape criminal charges as she has already been named as an accomplice in the charges against Choi, An and Jung.
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