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Ex-President Park’s confidante faces tax probe

Former President Park Geun-hye’s confidante Choi Soon-sil faces a prosecution probe over allegations that she did not pay taxes on a real estate transaction.

The Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office said Saturday the National Tax Service has reported Choi and her daughter Chung Yoo-ra for violating laws on tax offenses.

According to the tax agency, Choi sold a building in Gangnam, southern Seoul, for around 12.6 billion won ($10.7 million) in February and has not paid some 1.9 billion won in capital gains tax.

Choi Soon-sil (Yonhap)
Choi Soon-sil (Yonhap)

On Friday, prosecutors seized Chung’s cellphone at her hospital ward as part of their probe into the allegations.

Jeong Joon-gil, Chung’s lawyer and former Liberty Korea Party spokesperson, told The Korea Herald the prosecutors’ search-and-seizure operation at the hospital bordered on human rights violation.

Chung, who had given birth to her third child only two days before the raid, was not fully dressed when the prosecutors conducted the raid, according to Jeong.

“Even if they had a search warrant, the prosecutors should not have barged into a patient’s room and refused to leave,” he said. “This raises serious human rights violation concerns.”

Prosecutors said they had informed Chung’s husband beforehand, and that a female investigator was present at the scene.

Choi is serving a 20-year prison sentence for colluding with Park to solicit some 77.4 billion won of bribes from conglomerates in the form of donations to two foundations. She is also charged with having received some 8.6 billion won in bribes from Samsung, for which the corporation’s vice chairman Lee Jae-yong was convicted but released on probation last year.

Choi is due to appear in court on Wednesday for the final hearing on the case following her appeal.

By Kim Arin (