Ousted S.Korean President to be interrogated in jail

Indo Asian News Service

Seoul, April 2 (IANS) South Korean prosecutors will interrogate ousted President Park Geun-hye who is now in preventive detention over her alleged involvement in a corruption scandal, officials said on Sunday.

A spokesperson of the Attorney General's Office told Yonhap News Agency that Park, 65, will be questioned on Tuesday in the detention facility in southern Seoul.

The spokesperson also said that she will be questioned in prison only to avoid her going to the Seoul centre.

The Attorney General's office has set April 19 as the deadline to press charges for her trial, although it aims at doing so by mid-April to prevent a clash with the April 17 start of an official campaign for the presidential elections.

On Friday, a Seoul Central District court judge ruled in favour of the preventive detention of Park as sought by the prosecutor's office.

The prosecutors believe that there is sufficient evidence that Park conspired with her friend Choi Soon-sil, dubbed the "Korean Rasputin" for her influence over the former president, to create a web to take bribes from businesses, Efe news reported.

The judge and the investigators also said there was a risk of Park destroying evidence.

The prosecutors have pressed 13 charges against Park, including abuse of power, coercion, disclosure of state secrets and bribery, the last one punishable with a minimum of 10 years and up to a maximum of life imprisonment as per South Korean law.

Park, who claimed to be innocent, lost her presidential immunity on March 10 when the Constitutional Court ratified the impeachment, moved in the parliament in December.

Park's impeachment is the first ever impeachment of a South Korean President since 1987, which has also led to early presidential election to be held on May 9.

A total of 30 people have been charged so far in the scandal, which involves 53 companies, including conglomerates such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung.