South Korean prosecutors summoned ex-President Park Geun-hye to undergo questioning on Tuesday, a prosecution official said, as she was removed from office over a string of corruption allegations.
Park, the country's first democratically elected leader to be ousted, has been named a criminal suspect for allegedly abusing her power and colluding with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil in extorting money from local conglomerates.
Park has so far effectively rejected undergoing a direct investigation, while a number of her former aides have been questioned over their alleged involvement in the scandal.
The Constitutional Court's decision to oust her Friday stripped Park of the immunity that had protected her from criminal prosecution.
If Park ignores the summons without a legitimate reason, she can be taken in by force with a court-issued warrant, though prosecutors have been refraining from officially mentioning such a possibility.
Park's legal representative Son Bum-kyu said earlier in the day that she will fully cooperate with the investigation, "unless there are special circumstances."
If she answers to the summons, Park will be the country's fourth former president to undergo questioning over criminal allegations, following Roh Tae-woo, Chun Doo-hwan and the late Roh Moo-hyun.
Roh committed suicide in 2009 amid an investigation into allegations that his family members accepted illicit funds. (Yonhap)
|Ousted President Park Geun-hye gets out of a car appearing misty-eyed in front of her private residence in southern Seoul after returning from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on March 12, 2017, two days after she was removed from office at her impeachment trial at the Constitutional Court.|
Kim Sung-min firstname.lastname@example.org