[THE INVESTOR] Former President Park Geun-hye on Aug.2 refused to take the stand at the trial of Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is suspected of bribing her confidante Choi Soon-sil in return for business favors.
The special counsel probing the case had requested a warrant that requires Park, who was imprisoned in April on charges of bribery charges and abuse of power, to attend the trial. She refused citing health issues.
“The prosecution tried to execute the warrant but failed as she refused to attend the trial because of health problems,” a spokesperson from the special counsel said.
Lee’s trial is scheduled to start late afternoon after the questioning of former top Samsung executives, including Choi Gee-sung, who used to be his mentor.
Park refused to attend the trial as a witness twice before. In addition, she failed to follow the previous court order to participate in the trial in July citing health reasons.
As the hearing is going to conclude soon, the prosecutors may not try to summon Park again.
The court is expected to issue a ruling on the case later this month.
Lee is accused of having ordered Samsung’s top executives to offer bribes, worth 43 billion won (US$38.3 million), to support businesses and organizations run by Choi. The conglomerate also ran support schemes for Choi’s daughter and former equestrian athlete Chung Yoo-ra’s career.
The prosecution claims that Samsung gave funds to Choi in hopes of receiving support from the Park administration to transfer control of the conglomerate from the bedridden Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee to his son Jae-yong.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)