South Korea president’s office to block search of compound

South Korea president's office to block search of compound

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Prosecutors will not be allowed to search South Korea’s presidential compound as part of their investigation of the massive corruption scandal that toppled President Park Geun-hye from power, the president’s office said Thursday.

Prosecutors are pushing to question Park and search the Blue House for information around the scandal that led to her impeachment in December. The constitutional Court is holding a trial to decide whether to formally unseat her.

Park has said she’s willing to be questioned. But her office opposes any search and says a law blocks searches in areas with state secrets unless such prevention gravely undermines national interests.

Jung Youn-kuk, a Blue House spokesman, said its opposition to searches remains unchanged, disputing a media report that it decided to allow some searches.

The office of the special prosecutors still wants to search Blue House sites suspected of being linked to the scandal. Spokesman Lee Kyu-chul said the offices of presidential advisers and security staff could be the target but didn’t say how prosecutors could search without Blue House co-operation.

Park faces allegations that she let her confidante manipulate government affairs and extort money from businesses. Her confidante and several former presidential aides have been arrested on related charges.

The Associated Press