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Park appoints four assistants to independent counsel

2016/12/05 16:47

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Monday appointed four assistants to the independent counsel who will lead a special probe into a high-profile corruption scandal involving her and her longtime confidante.

Park selected the four deputies from among eight candidates that independent counsel Park Young-soo recommended last week.

The appointees are Park Choong-kun, Lee Yong-bok, Yang Jae-sik and Lee Kyu-chul, all of whom currently work as lawyers.

The independent counsel is accelerating the process of rounding out his probe team, which will consist of 105 members including some 20 prosecutors. The team has a mandate to investigate the case for 90 days, which can be extended by a month.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has also been forming a team of attorneys to defend Park. The team is expected to consist of four to five lawyers, including Yoo Young-ha, who was appointed last month.

The embattled president faces allegations that she allowed her friend Choi Soon-sil to gain unlawful access to advance drafts of presidential speeches and documents, some of which were classified as confidential.

Park is also suspected of playing a role in pressuring local conglomerates into donating large sums of money to two nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi.

Cheong Wa Dae has denied all accusations, claiming that they were political motivated and groundless. It said that Park will establish her "innocence" through the forthcoming independent investigation.

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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