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Presidential aide arrested over improper medical treatments received by Park
SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) — Special prosecutors on Friday arrested a presidential aide to investigate his involvement in inappropriate medical treatments President Park Geun-hye received from doctors close to her jailed confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Lee Young-seon appeared at the independent counsel team’s office in Seoul in the morning after a court issued a two-day detention warrant the previous day. The prosecutors sought his arrest after he repeatedly defied summons.
The official is suspected to have let the medical doctors close to Choi and other uncertified practitioners enter the presidential office for Park’s treatment, bypassing due procedures and even without leaving official records.
On Thursday the investigators were trying to locate the whereabouts of the suspect, who later conveyed his willingness to present himself after the warrant’s issuance was announced.
“An interrogation of Lee is essential in concluding the investigation into the allegations surrounding the unofficial medical treatments (given to President Park),” spokesman Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman of Independent Counsel Park Young-soo, told reporters Thursday.
Lee declined to answer any questions from reporters as he entered the counsel’s office.
The investigators executed the warrant during the interrogation, according to the spokesman. They have not yet decided whether to seek a formal warrant to detain him for 10 days before indictment.
The probe team is speeding up its investigation into the massive presidential scandal as its legal term is to end Tuesday.
The special counsel has asked Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn to extend the period by a month, but it is unclear whether he will approve the request.
On the same day, a court allowed a 10-day extension of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong’s detention until March 8.
The Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant earlier this month to formally arrest him. District courts can extend the detention period for once by 10 days.
The investigation team, meanwhile, has asked for police protection for the independent counsel and his four deputies.
“We took into consideration the latest demonstrations that took place in front of the special counsel’s house, as well as other circumstances surrounding the (scandal),” the spokesman Lee said.
Acrimony has deepened between Park’s supporters and opponents in the wake of the scandal and her ensuing parliamentary impeachment, which prompted millions of people to take to the streets for rallies for and against the president every weekend.