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Special investigators ready to conduct raid on presidential office

Feb. 3, 2017 - 09:25 By 신용배

South Korea's special investigators are poised to conduct a raid on the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Friday, as a local court issued a search warrant to gather evidence on the influence-peddling scandal centered on President Park Geun-hye a day earlier.

The investigation team looking into the scandal is expected to visit Cheong Wa Dae later in the day in order to secure more data ahead of a face-to-face interrogation of the president later this month.

The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday issued a warrant for the search and seizure. 

Photographers from the press wait for the special counsel investigators' arrival at Cheong Wa Dae on Friday. (Yonhap)

Still, it is unclear whether the investigators will be able to enter the compound, as the presidential office has been reiterating its stance to deny them access, citing security concerns.

 State prosecutors, who handed over the case to the independent counsel last year, attempted to raid the office twice but were halted by the presidential office. The office, instead, voluntarily turned over some documents requested by the prosecutors.

Under the country's law, military facilities and other areas that handle confidential information cannot be searched without approval from the person in charge of the location. Yet, the law also prohibits the person from refusing to grant such consent unless it infringes upon key national interests.

The two sides are in talks over when and how to carry out the questioning of Park, who is now awaiting the Constitutional Court's decision on her impeachment motion. She has been accused of letting her close friend Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs and amass personal profits using her ties to the president. Both Park and Choi have been flatly denying the allegations. (Yonhap)