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South Korea's Park emerges from seclusion, denies wrongdoing in scandal

South Korea's Park emerges from seclusion, denies wrongdoing in scandal

Large crowds formed near the presidential palace and constitutional court in the capital Seoul on Saturday.

Ms Park's supporters rallied in nearby streets, surrounded by thick lines of police.

Ms Park's fate is in the hands of the Constitutional Court, which has 180 days to uphold the impeachment or reinstate her.

This is the 10th straight weekend that protesters held anti-Park rallies in the capital, with protest organizers estimating that almost 9 million people participated in the previous events. The acting president pledged a return to stability in a message aimed at reassuring the country after a political crisis triggered Ms Park's downfall.

The scandal erupted in October when multiple claims burst forth concerning Park's unvetted secret confidante Choi Soon-sil, now in detention and facing her own trial.

The 64-year-old met reporters for the first time Sunday since the parliament's December 9 vote to impeach her. Park is at the center of a political scandal which is described as Seoul's biggest in recent years. "I hope it's an opportunity for Korea to be rational for the future generation".

S. Korea court says Park won't testify in impeachment trial
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State prosecutors have now passed the investigation to a special prosecution team, which on Friday summoned an arrested former presidential aide for the second time this week as they focus on proving bribery suspicions between Ms Park and the Samsung Group.

A festive mood spread across the grounds as it was the last day of the year.

Critics said it undervalued Samsung C&T stock but NPS - the world's third largest public pension fund and a major Samsung shareholder - backed the deal, allegedly incurring hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for NPS subscribers.

Samsung is one of the main companies that gave a combined 77.4 billion won ($64 million) to two non-profits Choi allegedly controlled and abused to expand her personal wealth.

Lee said at a parliamentary hearing this month that he was not aware of the money transfers. Choi is being detained awaiting trial.

The professor, Ryu Cheol-gyun, is a famous novelist who in 1997 wrote a story critics saw as glorifying Park's father, slain military dictator Park Chung-hee, whose legacy as a successful economic strategist is marred by violent records of civilian oppression.




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