Asia

The Latest: S. Korea PM says Park can be investigated

  • Kim Byong-joon, newly nominated for South Korea's prime minister, wipes his eyes after a news conference Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye's office said Wednesday that Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, a former top policy adviser for late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister. Kim's selection is subject to parliamentary approval. (Kim Hong-Ji, Pool via AP)

    Kim Byong-joon, newly nominated for South Korea's prime minister, wipes his eyes after a news conference Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye's office said Wednesday that Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, a former top policy adviser for late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister. Kim's selection is subject to parliamentary approval. (Kim Hong-Ji, Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kim Byong-joon, a nominee for South Korea's Prime Minister, speaks during a news conference Thursday, Nov.  3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye's office said Wednesday that Park nominated Kim, a former top policy adviser for late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister. Kim's selection is subject to parliamentary approval. (Kim Hong-Ji, Pool via AP)

    Kim Byong-joon, a nominee for South Korea's Prime Minister, speaks during a news conference Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye's office said Wednesday that Park nominated Kim, a former top policy adviser for late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister. Kim's selection is subject to parliamentary approval. (Kim Hong-Ji, Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kim Byong-joon, newly nominated for South Korea's prime minister, speaks during a news conference Thursday, Nov.  3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye's office said Wednesday that Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, a former top policy adviser for late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister. Kim's selection is subject to parliamentary approval. (Kim Hong-Ji, Pool via AP)

    Kim Byong-joon, newly nominated for South Korea's prime minister, speaks during a news conference Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye's office said Wednesday that Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, a former top policy adviser for late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister. Kim's selection is subject to parliamentary approval. (Kim Hong-Ji, Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on South Korea's political scandal (all times local):

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4 p.m.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye's choice for prime minister says Park can be the subject of the ongoing investigation into a snowballing influence-peddling scandal involving her longtime friend.

The comments by Kim Byong-joon Thursday came as opposition lawmakers are stepping up their demands that prosecutors directly investigate Park to get to the bottom of the scandal.

South Korean media speculate Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, pulled government affairs from the shadows and pushed businesses to donate millions of dollars to two foundations that she controlled.

Kim told a televised conference that he thinks it's possible to have Park investigated. He says there are different interpretations of a constitution provision that grants sitting presidents immunity from criminal lawsuits.

But he says the procedures and methods of any such probe of the head of state must be carefully done.

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10:20 a.m.

South Korean prosecutors have detained a former senior aide of President Park Geun-hye as they widen their investigations into a snowballing political scandal centering on whether the president's longtime friend was pulling government strings from the shadows.

Ahn Jong-beom is the second person detained over the scandal that has triggered mounting calls for Park's resignation. Earlier this week, prosecutors detained Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, and requested an arrest warrant for her.

South Korean media speculate Choi, who has no government position, made policy recommendations for Park and pushed businesses to donate millions of dollars to two foundations she controlled.

A Seoul prosecution office said Thursday it has detained Ahn while questioning him over his alleged involvement in extracting $70 million of company donations.

Prosecutors have to determine whether to seek an arrest warrant for Ahn or release him by Friday.