Ahn Bong Geun on Monday emerged from hiding to answer questions

Su Jin Jang, Feb. 21, 2017, 9:36 a.m.

Former presidential secretary for public relations Ahn Bong-geun on Monday emerged from hiding to answer questions from the independent counsel over his involvement in the Cheong Wa Dae scandal. Ahn (51), one of a trio of Cheong Wa Dae secretaries who apparently had unlimited access to President Park Geun-hye, was last questioned by prosecutors on Nov. 14 last year and then promptly went to ground.

He failed to testify in Park's impeachment trial three times because no subpoena could be delivered and was eventually struck off the roster of defense witnesses.

The independent counsel questioned Ahn over suspicions that Park was given repeated quack treatments from medical practitioners who skipped proper security checks, and about Park's whereabouts during the "missing seven hours" when she was nowhere to be found in the early stages of the sinking of the ferry Sewol on April 16, 2014.

The presidential office has claimed that Ahn saw Park in the flesh at her residence in the Cheong Wa Dae compound during those hours.

Meanwhile, the independent counsel has made no progress in attempts to question Park face-to-face because Cheong Wa Dae refuses to schedule an appointment. 

Park had originally pledged to cooperate with the counsel, but she backed out of an appointment earlier this month and it now looks unlikely that she can be grilled before she is out of office one way or the other.

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