'Runaway' Ex-Presidential Secretary Phones-In, Says He Will Show up for Questioning

'Runaway' Ex-Presidential Secretary Phones-In, Says He Will Show up for Questioning

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- Former presidential secretary Woo Byung-woo said Tuesday he will appear before the National Assembly next week for questioning into his suspected role in a corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her confidante.

Woo's whereabouts have been unknown for the past few weeks as he struggled to avoid the parliamentary investigation into the case.

"I could not participate in the hearing held Wednesday as presidential secretaries traditionally do not make remarks related with duties publicly," Woo told Yonhap News Agency through a phone call.

"But as I respect the repeated request from the parliament, I will respond faithfully to the parliamentary questioning," Woo added.

He is expected to join a hearing which is scheduled for Thursday next week. A total of 24 witnesses, including Woo, will attend.

Woo came under fire after he disappeared late last month, when the parliament delivered him an official document for the summons. Woo, however, said he stayed low key not to avoid the investigation but to hide from journalists.

A close acquaintance of Woo said the former presidential secretary wanted to avoid reporters approaching his family members. Parliament issued orders of accompaniment against Woo on Wednesday. The order is issued to forcefully make a suspect or witness appear at a hearing when he or she refuses to attend without a justifiable reason.

The parliament and investigators, however, failed to deliver the order as Woo's whereabouts remained unknown.

Woo is charged with delinquency of duties for remaining silent while being aware of Choi's interference in state affairs.'

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