Tongsun Park is unlikely to go to a third country soon to be questioned by American authorities about involvement in the congressional bribery scandal, his attorney indicated today.
The lawyer, William G. Hundley, said he advised Park not to leave here until South Korean investigators have finished with him.
After that, he said, the fugitive South Korean businessman probably would be william to face questions from U.S. investigators in a third country only if the U.S. and South Korean governments approved of such an arrangement.
Hundley's remarks confirmed that the Park case is still stalemated with little hope of an early resolution. He spoke of something's being worked out in the next month or so and said he plans to leave Seoul Thursday for Washington.
Hundley arrived last weekend expressing optimism that his client would agree to meet U.S. Justice Department investigators in some third country. Today, after four days of consultation, he said he thinks Park will follow that advice "assuming all conditions could be worked out."
He said he had presented such a proposal to the South Korean Ministry of Justice but received no reply.
Early this month, Hundley said Park would be willing to appear in Britain and fight an extradition battle. Today, however, he said he would "prefer" that Park go to a country that has no extradition agreement with the U.S.
That is in line with the South Korean government's position as expressed in several press leaks last week.
There is no indication how long the South Korean prosecutor will want question Park, and the nature of his investigation is unclear Hundley said he understands that the prosecutor is invoking a law under which Korean nationals can be brought to trial for violating laws in another country.
Park has made at least three appearances before the prosecutor and answered questions about the influence-buying charges brought by the U.S. grand jury. Park was accused in the indictment of being a South Korean government agent while attempting to influence congressmen.
Hundley said he had advised Park that so long as the prosecutor in Seoul wants to question him he should remain here.
Asked whether Park is free to leave the country if he wishes, Hundley said, "I imagine he is. I just don't know."
Park is reportedly under government surveillance, although he moves around the city freely. Some experienced observers here doubt that the South Korean government would permit him to leave under any circumstances that might result in his giving testimony in the case.
Hundley appeared at a news conference he had arranged to permit American correspondents to question Park. Park did not attend and Hundley explained that they both felt that since nothing had been resolved it would not be appropriate for him to give an interview.
Park has been living here since late August. An indictment accusing him of bribery and other felonies was unsealed early this month in Washington. He has refused to return to Washington and the South Korean government says it will not force him to go.