Park Geun Hye goes home after 14-hour interrogation

Ms Park did not respond to media questions yesterday.
Ms Park did not respond to media questions yesterday.

SEOUL • Former South Korean president Park Geun Hye left the offices of prosecutors early yesterday, after being questioned in an investigation into a graft scandal that put an early end to her political career.

Ms Park did not respond to media questions as she emerged from the building after nearly 22 hours and got into a waiting car to be driven to her home in the capital, Seoul.

She was questioned as a criminal suspect for the first time since the Constitutional Court on March 10 upheld her December impeachment by Parliament.

Ms Park is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon Sil, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back the former president's policy initiatives.

She and Choi have denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors have declined to comment on whether Ms Park will be called back for more questioning or whether they would seek an arrest warrant from a court to detain her. They did not discuss the details of the questions.

Ms Park, 65, who became South Korea's first democratically elected president to be removed from office, issued a brief statement on arrival at the prosecutors' offices on Tuesday, her first public remarks since her downfall. "I am sorry to the people. I will faithfully cooperate with questioning," she said in front of the media.

The questioning lasted 14 hours, one of her lawyers said. She has not been charged but could face more than 10 years in jail if convicted of receiving bribes from the bosses of big conglomerates, including Samsung Group chief Lee Jae Yong, in return for favours.

The former president waved to supporters as she was driven home and smiled and spoke briefly to some of them outside her house as she got out of the car.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Park goes home after 14-hour interrogation'. Print Edition | Subscribe