Nov 3, 2016 11:40 PM

The Latest: S. Korea leader denies 'shamanistic' rituals

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on South Korea's political scandal (all times local):

___

12:30 p.m.

In her address to the nation, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has denied media reports that she engaged in worshipping cult religions or that "shamanistic rituals" were held at the presidential Blue House.

Park says the scandal linking her to a long-time friend who is accused of manipulating power from the shadows is "all my fault and mistake." Park says will accept a possible investigation into her actions.

Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a cult leader, has been arrested.

Park says Choi was "a person who stood with me during the hardest moment in my life," apparently referring to the assassinations of Park's mother and later her father, the dictator Park Chung-hee.

Park says: "It's true that I lowered my guard and my sense of wariness" of Choi.

___

10:35 a.m.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye says a scandal threatening her rule is "all my fault and mistake" and vowed to accept a possible investigation into her actions amid growing suspicion that she allowed a mysterious friend with no official government role to manipulate power from the shadows.

Park, her voice shaking, denied any involvement in a religious cult, which had been speculated here, and said the scandal has been "heartbreaking" to her.

Her televised address to the nation Friday comes at what may well prove to be the crucial moment of her presidency.

Last week Park surprised many when she acknowledged that she had relied on her longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, for help editing presidential speeches and other undefined "public relations" issues.

Anger has exploded in the days since, with reports claiming the influence Choi had on Park went much deeper.

___

9:10 a.m.

Much will be on the line for President Park Geun-hye as she addresses the nation over a scandal that allegedly saw her longtime confidante manipulating government power from the shadows.

Park is to appear before television cameras Friday morning. Last week she acknowledged that she had relied on her friend, Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a cult leader who has no official government role, for help editing presidential speeches and other undefined "public relations" issues.

Anger has exploded in the days since, with media reports claiming the influence Choi had on Park went much deeper. Thousands have protested, Park has fired many of her senior aides and is replacing her prime minister, and her approval rating has dropped to single digits.

Choi has been formally arrested and Park's prime minister nominee has suggested that the president can be directly investigated.

This will all be swirling around her as Park steps before the cameras.

___

11 p.m.

A South Korean court has approved an arrest warrant for a longtime friend of President Park Geun-hye.

Choi Soon-sil has faced allegations that she controlled the government from the shadows and pushed businesses to donate millions of dollars to two foundations that she controlled.

The allegations touched off a political scandal that has plunged the country into the biggest political turmoil in years. One recent opinion survey showed Park's approval rating at about 9 percent.

Seoul Central District Court spokesman Shin Jae-hwan said late Thursday that Seoul Central District Court accepted a request from prosecutors to issue a warrant to arrest Choi.

___

4 p.m.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye's choice for prime minister says Park can be the subject of the ongoing investigation into a snowballing influence-peddling scandal involving her longtime friend.

The comments by Kim Byong-joon Thursday came as opposition lawmakers are stepping up their demands that prosecutors directly investigate Park to get to the bottom of the scandal.

South Korean media speculate Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, pulled government affairs from the shadows and pushed businesses to donate millions of dollars to two foundations that she controlled.

Kim told a televised conference that he thinks it's possible to have Park investigated. He says there are different interpretations of a constitution provision that grants sitting presidents immunity from criminal lawsuits.

But he says the procedures and methods of any such probe of the head of state must be carefully done.

___

10:20 a.m.

South Korean prosecutors have detained a former senior aide of President Park Geun-hye as they widen their investigations into a snowballing political scandal centering on whether the president's longtime friend was pulling government strings from the shadows.

Ahn Jong-beom is the second person detained over the scandal that has triggered mounting calls for Park's resignation. Earlier this week, prosecutors detained Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, and requested an arrest warrant for her.

South Korean media speculate Choi, who has no government position, made policy recommendations for Park and pushed businesses to donate millions of dollars to two foundations she controlled.

A Seoul prosecution office said Thursday it has detained Ahn while questioning him over his alleged involvement in extracting $70 million of company donations.

Prosecutors have to determine whether to seek an arrest warrant for Ahn or release him by Friday.

--  Dealing with the Disease of Addiction? Click here for help --

»Comments

More from NH1.com

NH1 News Replay
   

NH1 on Twitter

NH1 SkyView Cameras

NH1 on Facebook

Check out NH1 News Rail Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome