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S.Korean prosecutors end interrogation of ousted President Park

Editor: zhangrui 丨Xinhua

03-22-2017 06:40 BJT

SEOUL, March 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korean prosecutors ended a marathon interrogation of ousted President Park Geun-hye late on Tuesday night over a corruption scandal that led to her impeachment.

The 14-hour-long questioning came to an end at about 11:40 p.m. local time (1440 GMT) as Park appeared in the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to be questioned over the influence-peddling scandal.

Sohn Bum-kyu, one of Park's legal team, said via text message that it would take about two hours to confirm the testimony Park had given to the prosecutors.

Park is expected to return after midnight to her private home in a southern district of Seoul, where she has stayed since she left the presidential Blue House on March 12.

At present, the prosecutors are reportedly ruling out a possibility to seek to arrest Park.

On March 10, the constitutional court permanently removed Park from office by unanimously upholding the bill to impeach Park that was passed in the parliament on Dec. 9.

Since the passage of the impeachment, Park had vowed to be interrogated by both state and special prosecutors, but she eventually dismissed the requests for questioning by both of them, citing various reasons.

Park had immunity from criminal indictment while in office, but she has lost it as she is now a private civilian. Park became the fourth South Korean former president to be questioned by prosecutors.

During the grilling, prosecutors focused on Park's alleged involvement in charges of bribery, abuse of power and the leakage of state secrets. A total of 13 charges were levied against her.

Park, 65, has been accused of colluding with her decades-long friend Choi Soon-sil, who is now in custody, to receive tens of millions of U.S. dollars in bribes from Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the heir apparent of Samsung Group who was also taken into custody.

The kickbacks are suspected of being offered in return for helping Lee inherit the overall management control of the country's biggest family-controlled conglomerate from his ailing father Chairman Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalized for heart attack for almost three years.

Park was identified as an accomplice to Choi in helping solicit tens of millions of U.S. dollars from scores of large business conglomerates to establish two nonprofit foundations Choi used for personal gains.

Choi has been charged with meddling in state affairs behind the scenes by receiving government documents on a regular basis delivered by one of Park's former presidential secretaries.

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