South Korean prosecutors have detained a former aide to President Park Geun-hye, the second person to be held in an influence peddling scandal that has rocked the country's presidency, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Prosecutors have said they are looking into allegations that the former senior adviser, An Chong-bum, and Choi Soon-sil
, a long-time friend of the president, forced South Korean conglomerates to donate funds to non-profit foundations using their connections with the president.
An, who was a senior presidential adviser in policy coordination until he stepped down late last month amid the growing political crisis, was detained late on Wednesday. He earlier told reporters outside prosecution offices that he would take responsibility for his actions but declined to elaborate.
Under South Korean law, prosecutors have 48 hours to seek an arrest warrant from a court.
On Wednesday, Park replaced her prime minister and finance minister
, a reshuffle denounced by political opponents as a bid to divert attention from a crisis that has pushed her approval rating to an all-time low.
Her nominee to be prime minister, Kim Byong-joon, said on Thursday he believes the president could theoretically be subject to a probe."My position is an investigation is possible. But since (she) is the head of state, its process and method requires circumspection,"
Kim told a press conference.