Former President Park Geun-hye apologized to the public and promised to “dutifully” answer to prosecution questioning on Tuesday as she stepped into the prosecution office as the fourth South Korean president to face criminal charges from the state law enforcement institution.
“I am sorry to the people. I will dutifully comply with the (prosecution) probe,” she said briefly in front of hundreds of cameras in her first comments since she was stripped of the presidential title on March 10 after the Constitutional Court delivered a historic ruling upholding for the first time the legislative impeachment motion on the president.
Ex-presidents Roh Tae-woo, Chun Doo-hwan, and Roh Moo-hyun faced investigation from state prosecutors as criminal suspects. Roh was impeached by the legislative but was reinstated after the Constitutional Court struck out the motion.
Park with presidential immunity from criminal prosecution had refused questioning from state and independent prosecutors and did not appear at the Constitutional Court trial. She is accused of 13 charges including power abuse by allowing her friend Choi Soon-sil without any public title access to classified information as well as a wide range of state affairs and receiving bribes from corporate heads including Samsung Group de facto leader Jay Y. Lee currently under pretrial detention on the bribery charge.
If convicted with receiving 43 billion won ($38.5 million) from Samsung Group and a combined 77.4 billion won from companies in the form of donations to private organizations dubbed Mi-R and K-Sports in return of favors, she could face more than 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors would also question whether she had been behind various prerogatives given out to Choi and her inner circle as well as the so-called blacklist to censor anti-government figures.
By Lee Hyun-jung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]