Investigation Shows President Park's BFF Paid for Costly "Medical Shots"

Investigation Shows President Park's BFF Paid for Costly "Medical Shots"

SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliamentary committee looking into the alleged corruption of currently impeached President Park Geun-hye said Wednesday that her close friend paid for certain medical costs, casting further suspicions over the two's behind-the-scenes connections.

   Rep. Hwang Young-cheul of the New Conservative Party for Reform said the confidante Choi Soon-sil paid 1.13 million won (US$936) to Chaum, an upscale anti-aging clinic, in Seoul from 2011 to 2014, which also included the cost for a blood test on Park. Choi's sister, Choi Soon-deuk, also paid 1.1 million won over the cited period.

   Park was impeached by the parliament earlier in December amid allegations that Choi exerted influence on state affairs without any official seat in the administration while pursuing personal benefits. The confidante is currently in custody.

   The figures are based on 29 medical records of the two Chois, which used bynames, such as "VIP," "Park chairman" and "Blue," apparently referring to the president. The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae is often called the Blue House.

   The Choi family paid for 27 cases, while the remaining two were not actually prescribed for Park.

   Investigators are trying to determine the nature of such payments, as Choi was earlier accused of paying for Park's clothes and bags, which could result in bribery charges. The presidential office had issued a statement saying Park had paid back all expenses incurred for the purchase of the clothes and bags.

   "The prescription by proxy to help Park receive shots, and having Choi pay for them could be problematic," Hwang said, adding such payments by the confidante also adds more suspicion to the influence-peddling scandal.

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