South Korean President Park Geun-hye has retained a lawyer ahead of questioning by prosecutors investigating a favors scandal connecting her administration, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The government has been rocked by allegations that a friend used her ties to Park to meddle in state affairs and wield improper influence, triggering calls for Park to be impeached or step down.
She will be the first sitting president to be questioned by prosecutors in a criminal case.
Park's lawyer, Yoo Yeong-ha, a former member of the government's National Human Rights Commission, will discuss arrangements with prosecutors for their questioning, an official at the presidential Blue House said.
The lawyer told reporters that questioning should be kept to a minimum and that he needed time to look into the case."If face-to-face questioning is necessary, the number of times should be the minimum,"
Yoo said, adding that it was improper to investigate a president except on suspicion of treason.
Yoo nevertheless repeated the president's comments that she would make herself available for the investigation.
Park said earlier this month prosecutors should clarify what happened and that everyone involved should be held accountable, including herself, and take responsibility if found guilty.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Park exerted improper pressure on "chaebol"
conglomerate bosses to raise funds for foundations involving her friend, Choi Soon-sil, the Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.
Yonhap said on Tuesday prosecutors had summoned Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, which if true would make him the latest head of a South Korean conglomerate to be questioned by investigators. Lotte Group could not confirm the report and prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.
Prosecutors are also investigating Choi
, who has been detained since October 31.