SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA —
South Korean prosecutors said they believe President Park Geun-hye conspired with a secretive confidante who allegedly manipulated government affairs and exploited her presidential ties to amass an illicit fortune.
The damning revelation came as prosecutors Sunday indicted Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil on suspicion of interfering with state affairs and bullying companies into giving tens of millions of dollars to foundations she controlled.
Prosecutors are also preparing to question Park, which could happen in the next few days.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s lawyer Sunday rejected comments by prosecutors who said Park played a role in a corruption scandal, calling it an “imagination.”
Lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha also said in a statement to Reuters that Park will not make herself available for questioning by prosecutors.
The prosecution Sunday also indicted two former presidential aides who allegedly conspired with Choi.
South Korean protesters hold candles during a rally calling for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 19, 2016. For the fourth straight Saturday, masses of South Koreans filled major avenues in downtown Seoul demanding an end to the Park presidency.
Park is facing growing calls to resign over the scandal critics say has undermined the country’s democracy. Emboldened by the huge protests in recent weeks, opposition parties have been stepping up pressure on Park to quit.
On Saturday, police said about 170,000 people turned out for the latest anti-Park protest in streets near City Hall and a boulevard fronting an old palace gate in Seoul.
Demonstrators also marched in streets near the presidential offices, carrying candles and illuminating cellphones, and shouting “Park Geun-hye step down” and “Arrest Park Geun-hye.”