According to South Korean prosecutors, President Park Geun-hye had a “considerable” role in a corruption scandal involving her close confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Speaking after Choi Soon-sil and two of Prak Geun-hye’s aides were charged, Chief Prosecutor Lee Young-ryeol said the president was “involved as a conspirator” but was immune from prosecution.
Park Geun-hye has faced huge protests and opponents have urged her to quit.
The prosecutor said she would be questioned soon.
Park Geun-hye, whose approval rating has dropped to 5%, has apologized twice on national TV but has so far resisted calls to resign.
Her office had no comment on November 20. She has previously pledged to cooperate in the investigation but resisted prosecutors’ plans to question her last week, Reuters reported.
South Korea’s parliament has approved a bill to appoint a special prosecutor, who will take over the case from state prosecutors.
South Koreans have reacted angrily to the revelations. The country has witnessed the largest protests since the pro-democracy demonstrations of the 1980s.
Organizers said as many as 500,000 people attended a candlelit rally in the capital this weekend, which brought streets to a standstill for the fourth consecutive Saturday. Police put the figure far lower.
Park Geun-hye is facing growing calls to resign over the scandal. Opposition figures may attempt to impeach her if she refuses to resign in order to protect her immunity.
Choi Soon-sil is accused of trying to extort huge sums of money from South Korean companies, and suspected of using her friendship with Park Geun-hye to solicit business donations for a non-profit fund she controlled.
Also indicted was Ahn Jong-beom, Park Geun-hye’s former senior secretary for policy coordination. Ahn Jong-beom was charged with abuse of authority, coercion and attempted coercion.
The second aide to be charged was Jung Ho-sung, accused of passing classified presidential documents to Choi Spoon-sil, including information on ministerial candidates.