December 06, 2016 12:53
President Park Geun-hye's long-time crony Choi Soon-sil has refused to appear in a National Assembly inquiry into the massive corruption scandal she is at the center of.
In a letter to lawmakers Monday, Choi said she is "busy" with her defense against charges brought by prosecutors of influence peddling and abuse of power, and suffers from "panic disorder."
Choi's sister Soon-deuk and niece Jang Si-ho have also told lawmakers they will not show up to the Wednesday hearing citing "health problems."
Lawmakers have no way of forcing the suspects to appear and can merely fine them W5-7 million if they fail to show up, a risible sum in light of the money Choi allegedly embezzled and extorted with Park's connivance (US$1=W1,172).
Lawmakers are mulling whether to toughen regulations so that individuals who to respond to a summons face prison terms.
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