South Korea’s Former President Park Charged in Corruption Probe

  • Prosecutors accuse her of bribery, coercion, leaking secrets
  • Lotte Group chairman also indicted on bribery charges

South Korea's Former Leader Arrested Over Bribery Scandal

South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye was charged with bribery and abuse of power, setting the stage for a trial that could result in a lengthy prison term.

Park is also accused of coercion and leaking state secrets, according to a report released by prosecutors on Monday. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was also indicted on charges of giving 7 billion won ($6.2 million) in bribes to Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil.

Park’s indictment follows months of street protests as the corruption scandal unfolded, culminating in her ouster and arrest last month. Park, who denies wrongdoing, faces allegations that she abused her powers and colluded with Choi and former aides to get bribes and seek favors from top businesses.

The 65-year-old daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee was the nation’s first female president. Prosecutors argue that she pressured top business executives to donate tens of millions of dollars to foundations run by her confidante in return for government favors.

She is also alleged to have colluded with Choi to seek bribes from Samsung Group’s heir apparent Jay Y. Lee in exchange for government backing of a 2015 merger. Lee and Choi are both on trial and deny wrongdoing.

Park’s dismissal on March 10 has left South Korea in the hands of a caretaker government at a time when tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program are mounting. Leading candidates in the May 9 election to replace her include Moon Jae-in, the runner-up to Park in 2012, and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo.

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