January 31, 2017 – South Korea’s presidential scandal engulfed a new public figure, as Ambassador to Myanmar Yoo Jae-kyung was questioned by special prosecutors in Seoul over suspicions concerning his appointment as the top envoy to the Southeast Asian nation.
Yoo – a former Samsung Electro-Mechanics executive, was posted in Myanmar last May despite having no diplomatic experience.
Investigators suspect the 58-year-old may have landed the job via arrested presidential confidante Choi Soon-sil, whose suspected links to Samsung have been repeatedly raised since the wide-ranging scandal erupted last October.
According to local media, Choi allegedly helped arrange Yoo’s placement in Myanmar in order to reap financial benefits from an aid project in the country.
Choi has already been accused of colluding with President Park Geun-hye to force corporate donations among a series of power abuse charges, leading to the former’s arrest, the latter’s impeachment and the ongoing prosecution of several presidential Blue House aides.
Shortly after landing back in South Korea earlier today, Yoo protested his innocence as he arrived at the office of the special prosecution team appointed to investigate the wider scandal.
“I still do not know who recommended me as ambassador,” he was quoted as saying as he talked to reporters.
“Upon appointment, I was told by the president that they were looking for somebody with experience in trade, instead of an authentic diplomat, so as to tap into the new market.”
Yoo reportedly refused to confirm or deny a claim that he met with Choi in person before being offered the Myanmar position.