S. Korean Prosecutors Name Park Suspect in Presidential Aide’s Attempted Coercion

Seoul, – South Korean President Park Geun-hye is suspected of complicity in her former senior secretary Cho Won-dong’s unsuccessful attempt to force CJ Group’s vice chairman to quit in 2013, prosecutors said Sunday, announcing their indictment of Cho on charges of attempted coercion, Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday.

A special investigation team of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Cho, a former senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, without detention for coercing CJ Group Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik to dismiss his niece Lee Mie-kyung from the group’s vice chairmanship in July 2013.

Prosecutors have already named Park a suspect in the abuse of power scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil and her associates, saying the president colluded in Choi’s efforts to force donations from large companies worth tens of millions of dollars. The National Assembly voted to impeach the president on Friday, suspending her from office pending a Constitutional Court decision.

Winding up their months-long investigation, prosecutors said Cho conspired with President Park in compelling Sohn on the phone in July 2013. Cho allegedly told the conglomerate chief that the group will be prone to serious backlashes if the CJ vice chairman does not come down from her post.

Since CJ ultimately refused Cho’s request, prosecutors indicted Cho for attempted coercion.

Prosecutors also announced the indictment of Kim Chong, a former vice culture minister, on charges of colluding with Choi and her niece Chang Si-ho to force conglomerates to donate billions of won to a winter sports foundation established by Chang.

Source: Qatar News Agency