Prosecutors Raid Former Top Blue House Official Woo Byung-woo's Home in Connection to Choi Soon-sil Scandal
SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors raided the home of Woo Byung-woo, former presidential aide for civil affairs, on Thursday as part of an investigation into an influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye's confidante, Choi Soon-sil.
Investigators said they have secured handsets and other materials from his home in southern Seoul. Woo had stepped down in late October after the scandal broke out.
Woo is suspected of having overlooked her alleged abuse of power, even though he was aware of her illegal activities.
The former secretary is also being investigated on separate charges of embezzling funds from a company run by his family for personal purposes. Woo is also believed to have made a false disclosure of personal wealth by concealing real estate owned by his wife under a borrowed name.
In addition, the former public prosecutor is suspected of having exerted influence to help his son, currently serving in the police, to land an easy posting for his mandatory military service.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, are planning to question the heads of seven conglomerates over allegations that President Park asked them to donate large sums of money to two nonprofit organizations controlled by Choi, sources said.
The firms, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Group, donated a total of 77.4 billion won (US$67.4 million) to the Mir and K-Sports foundations that were created to promote Korean culture abroad and less popular sports and athletes.
Those subject to questioning include Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo and LG Chairman Koo Bon-moo, the source said, declining to be named.
These tycoons are expected to be questioned about their closed-door meetings with Park at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in July last year.
At one of the meetings, Park is said to have called for conglomerates' support in the creation of the foundations, which she stressed aimed to spread Korean entertainment-related content abroad.