South Korea's ex-president Park indicted for bribery
Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye was on Monday charged with bribery involving millions of dollars over the massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought her down.
Park, whose impeachment was confirmed by Seoul's top court last month, is at the centre of a sprawling graft investigation, which has also implicated top businessmen and brought millions of people onto the streets. The former leader, already detained at a centre near Seoul, also faces charges of abusing her powers and leaking state secrets, Seoul prosecutors probing the scandal said in a statement.
"We have formally charged Park... with multiple offences including abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking state secrets," they said after wrapping up the months-long investigation. Park is accused of colluding with her confidante at the heart of the scandal, Choi Soon-sil, who is already on trial for coercing local conglomerates into donating a total of 77.4 billion won (USD 68 million) to two non-profit foundations.
Choi allegedly used some of the donations for personal gain.
Park is also accused of offering policy favours to top businessmen who enriched Choi, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong who was arrested earlier and is also on trial for bribery.
Prosecutors on Monday also charged Shin Dong-Bin, the chairman of the retail giant Lotte Group, with bribing Choi and Park.
Shin allegedly offered seven billion won (USD 6.15 million) to a sports foundation linked with Choi in exchange for a policy favour from Park over Lotte's duty-free business. Park, 65-year-old daughter of the late former dictator Park Chung-Hee, spent nearly two decades living in Seoul's sprawling presidential palace, before the allegations of corruption engulfed her presidency late last year.
The scandal sent her once-bulletproof approval ratings to record lows with millions taking to the streets for months calling for her ouster, though she also had a loyal following from groups of mainly older rival protesters.
Her father is widely revered by aged, conservative South Koreans.
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