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Ex-S.Korean President refuses questioning over new allegations

IANS | Seoul |

Jailed former South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday refused to be questioned about illegal financing she allegedly received from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) during her time in office.

Prosecutors from the Central District of Seoul visited the detention centre here where Park has been detained since her dismissal in March, to question her over the new allegations, but Park refused to answer, judicial sources told Yonhap News Agency.

The prosecution believes that the presidential office, then led by Park, received about 4 billion won ($3 million) from the NIS between 2013 and 2016, and, therefore, wants the former president to share her knowledge of the illicit funding and whether it was used for personal or political purposes.

However, the former President has refused to testify on these allegations, citing her poor health, which was the same reason she gave to avoid the previous court hearing on her alleged involvement in the corruption scheme.

Park, 65, has also claimed that the conditions in the prison where she is detained are inhumane, which resulted in her physical problems, and she has refused to meet with the five public lawyers assigned to her.

The former president was accused of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil for her intimacy with Park, to establish a corruption scheme, reports Efe news.

The pair was believed to have extorted several million dollars from various major South Korean firms, including Samsung, in exchange for a favourable government deal, for which Park could be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison or a maximum of life imprisonment.

South Korean justice has also spent years investigating the links between the NIS and the Park administration as it believes that Park might have received help from the intelligence agency to win the 2012 elections, which could lead the prosecution to present new charges against the former president.

In August, NIS Director Won Sei-hoon was sentenced to four years in prison for his meddling in Park’s presidential campaign, after a previous sentence against him was overturned.