Park refuses to answer prosecutors’ questions

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Park refuses to answer prosecutors’ questions

Former President Park Geun-hye refused to be questioned in prison by prosecutors on Tuesday over allegations that she received billions of won from the state spy agency during her four-year term that was cut short in 2016.

A prosecutor and two investigators from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office visited the Seoul Detention Center earlier in the day to interrogate Park. She appeared in a meeting room where they had been waiting, but refused to answer any questions, according to the prosecution. She returned to her cell after, they said.

Park has been in pre-sentencing detention since late March over a string of corruption charges involving her longtime friend and confidante Choi Soon-sil. Park was removed from office over the scandal by a Constitutional Court ruling on March 10.

Prosecutors have been looking into fresh allegations involving the ousted president that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) regularly paid her through her two aides some 3.8 billion won ($3.52 million) from May 2013 to July 2016 with the state funds. They were to ask her about her alleged involvement and knowledge of the illicit payments, which prosecutors suspect Park could have used personally or for illegal political activities.

Her reaction was widely expected as she has been boycotting all sessions in her trial since October in protest against the court decision to extend her arrest for another six months. She has given up her right to counsel, accusing the judiciary of not being fair with her case.

Park made a rare speech in the last trial she attended in which she claimed to be a “victim of political revenge.”

Prosecutors have indicted her two aides and three then-NIS chiefs over bribery charges. They plan to review the evidence and soon decide on whether to file additional charges against the former president, they said.

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