South Korean ex-leader Park home after marathon interrogation
SEOUL, South Korea – Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-Hye returned home Wednesday, March 22, after a marathon interrogation by prosecutors over the corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought her down.
Park – the first South Korean president removed from power by impeachment – spent more than 21 hours in the prosecutors’ office in Seoul from Tuesday morning, March 21.
TV footage showed the 65-year-old leaving the building Wednesday morning.
A broadly-smiling Park nodded at hundreds of flag-waving supporters who gathered near her home in southern Seoul and entering the house without answering questions from reporters.
The South's first woman president was officially removed from office on March 10 when the Constitutional Court confirmed her impeachment by parliament last December.
While she enjoyed the protection of presidential executive privilege, Park rejected a series of requests by prosecutors to be interviewed.
Questions by prosecutors are a key step in South Korea's judicial process before a suspect is charged. Prosecutors are currently reviewing whether to press charges or seek Park's arrest – although she would not have to be detained before being formally accused.
Park faces multiple charges ranging from abuse of power and coercion to bribery and has been named as an accomplice of her secret confidante at the heart of the scandal.
The friend, Choi Soon-Sil, is accused of using her ties with Park to force top local businesses to "donate" nearly $70 million to non-profit foundations she allegedly used for personal gain.
Park is accused of offering policy favors to the businessmen who enriched Choi, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong, who was arrested and indicted for bribery last month.
Park is also accused of letting Choi, who had no official title or security clearance, handle a wide range of state affairs including nomination of top officials.
Park has denied all wrongdoing and blamed Choi – currently on trial for charges including abuse of power and coercion – for misusing their friendship. – Rappler.com