March 18, 2017 4:05 pm JST

Head of South Korea's SK Group questioned by prosecutors in graft probe

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- Chey Tae Won, chairman of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, was on Saturday questioned by prosecutors investigating former President Park Geun Hye.

Donations paid by SK to nonprofit organizations controlled by Park's longtime friend are suspected to have been made in return for a presidential pardon for Chey.

Chey, who was serving his second jail term for multi-million dollar fraud, was released from jail in August 2015 following the government's grant of a special pardon.

SK donated a total of 11.1 billion won (about $9.8 million) to the two foundations founded and managed by Choi Soon Sil, who has been indicted for meddling in state affairs through her friendship with Park.

Samsung's heir apparent Lee Jae Yong was last month formally indicted on charges of giving donations to the two foundations in exchange for government favors.

Park, who lost her presidential immunity from potential criminal prosecution after being formally removed from office earlier this month, has been summoned to appear for questioning on Tuesday next week.

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