Ousted S.Korean president is questioned over bribery allegations

Cheryl Sanders
April 2, 2017

While Park apologized to the nation several times in the months prior to her ouster on March 10, she has denied any wrongdoing.

"I will sincerely go through the investigation", she said amid a barrage of camera flashes.

Just days after being removed from office by the Constitutional Court over a massive corruption scandal, an animal rights group accused Park of animal abandonment for not bringing the dogs with her.

Park is suspected of 13 counts of offenses including bribery, abuse of power in civil service appointments, and extortion from major conglomerates.

Park won the presidential vote in 2012 largely thanks to the popularity of her late father among the aged, conservative voters who benefited from the rapid growth under his iron-fisted rule from 1961 to 1979, but the scandal sent her once-bulletproof support ratings to record lows.

Prosecutors said they hope to finish questioning her before midnight "but will have to see how it goes", according to a spokesman.

Park Geun-hye appeared Tuesday in the prosecutors' office to be questioned over an corruption scandal that led to her impeachment earlier this month. A prominent liberal opposition politician, Moon Jae-in, is leading in opinion polls and is expected to win a snap presidential election on May 9.

Park will be interrogated by state prosecutors for her alleged involvement in the scandal, which removed her from office after the impeachment was passed in the parliament on December 9. Park and Choi have both denied wrongdoing. Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/Getty Images Anti-government activists carry a mock prison containing a board-cut of South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye after the announcement of the Constitutional Court's decision to uphold the impeachment of Park in Seoul.

Already, some of Park's closest presidential aides are behind bars on suspicions that they've colluded with her on some of the charges against her.

Al Jazeera's Rob McBride, reporting from Seoul, said that Park's opponents has been criticising her for avoiding questioning for months.

Anti-Park protesters also gathered, demanding her arrest.

"It seems that Park Geun-hye is a person who entirely lacks empathy, whether it's for humans or for animals", Park Jeong-eon, a 38-year-old office worker who is unrelated to the ousted president, told The Associated Press.

In the previous cases of former President Roh Tae-woo and Roh Moo-hyun, who were investigated in 1995 and 2009 respectively, the tea meetings lasted for 10-15 minutes.

Over the weekend, Seoul prosecutors also questioned the second-generation chairman of SK Group, the country's third-largest business empire.

The Ministry Of Culture, which grants licences to foundations, questioned the motives behind corporate donations to the two foundations, which had come to the attention of parliamentary investigators and prosecutors. Exiting the Blue House on March 12, Park said, "Though it may take time, I believe the truth will eventually prevail".

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