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ASIA >South Korea prosecutors to summon ex-president Park for questioning

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South Korean prosecutors will summon former president Park Geun-Hye, whose impeachment was confirmed by the country’s highest court last week, for questioning as a criminal suspect, a spokesman said March 14.

Park has been named as an accomplice to the secret confidante at the heart of a corruption and influence-peddling scandal that triggered her dramatic downfall.

Confirmation of her impeachment by the nation’s top court stripped her of immunity from criminal prosecution.

“We will decide on March 15 when to summon former president Park and inform her,” the spokesman of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office told AFP.

It has not yet been decided whether Park will be called in to the prosecutors’ office in private, or publicly before TV cameras and photographers, he added.

The country’s top court last week fired Park over a corruption scandal.

Her friend and secret confidante, Choi Soon-Sil, is standing trial for using her ties to Park to force local firms to “donate” nearly $70 million to non-profit foundations Choi allegedly used for personal gain.

Park is accused of offering policy favors to businessmen who paid Choi, including the heir to the smartphone giant Samsung, Lee Jae-Yong, who has been indicted for bribery and other offences.

Meanwhile, a South Korean animal rights group has filed a complaint with police against Park for abandoning nine pet dogs in the presidential Blue House after being dismissed from office.

The dogs are Jindos, a Korean breed of hunting dog known for their loyalty.

Park left the Blue House presidential complex on March 12, two days after the Constitutional Court removed her from office.

She returned to her private home in the upmarket Gangnam district of the capital, Seoul.

Some neighbors there had given Park a pair of Jindos in early 2013, when she left for the Blue House. The pair had seven puppies in January this year.

The Busan Korea Alliance for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said on its Twitter account it had filed a complaint against Park on a charge of animal abandonment.

The Blue House said Park had left the dogs partly because it would not be good for the puppies to be uprooted from their home and denied they had been abandoned.

“She told Blue House staff to take good care of the dogs and to find good foster homes for the puppies if necessary,” said a Blue House spokesman, Kim Dong-jo.

March/14/2017

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