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South Korea prosecutors want to question president over scandal

SEOUL — South Korean prosecutors want to question President Park Geun Hye this week over suspicion that she let a shadowy longtime confidante manipulate power from behind the scenes, an official said Sunday.

It would be the first time that a sitting South Korean president has been questioned by prosecutors. The explosive scandal is the most serious challenge for Park, whose public apologies have done little to calm public anger.

Prosecutors are seeking to question Park face-to-face on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, a prosecution official said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was underway, said prosecutors conveyed their position to Park’s office and were awaiting a response.

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The president’s office said earlier Sunday that it can work out its position on a Park investigation as early as Tuesday. It said it needs time to review when and how Park should be investigated.

In addition to allegedly manipulating power, the president’s confidante, Choi Soon Sil, the daughter of a late cult leader who emerged as Park’s mentor in the 1970s, is also suspected of exploiting her presidential ties to bully companies into donating tens of millions of dollars to foundations she controlled.