Choi Soon-sil, who had earlier confessed to influencing and manipulating South Korean President Park Geun-hye, has now recanted her confession, claiming she had been forced to make it and that she was, in fact, innocent.
Choi’s claim was rejected by the special prosecutor for the case, who released the following statement:
“Regardless of such groundless claims of hers, the special prosecutor will thoroughly carry out the investigation by law and principle.”
-Lee Kyu-chul, Special Prosecutor
In the same statement, the prosecutor stated the Choi was attempting to discredit the proceedings of the investigation.
Choi is accused of gaining access to confidential government files through her long friendship with the president, as well as using that influence to pressure Samsung, the global electronics manufacturer, into sponsoring her daughter’s equestrian career. Choi first gained access to Park when her father, a shaman, claimed he could channel the spirit of Park’s recently assassinated mother. Since then, she has reportedly had control over most of Park’s decisions in and out of office.
After reports of the scandal first surfaced, South Korean citizens flooded the streets in protests, and Park’s approval rating dropped to just 4%. Choi was arrested soon after, and Park, who faced rebellion within her own party, was impeached in December, remaining in office but with no power.
The verdict on Park’s impeachment, which would remove her from office, is expected by March 13th.
Choi’s daughter has also been arrested as part of the investigations.