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South Korea's Former President Park Charged in Corruption Probe

18 April 2017
South Korea's Former President Park Charged in Corruption Probe

On March 10, the South Korean Constitutional Court upheld the December 2016 parliamentary decision to impeach Park over a corruption scandal involving Choi, who allegedly was allowed to meddle in state affairs without holding any official post.

Former President Park Geun-hye was indicted Monday for alleged crimes committed during her failed presidency, including accepting bribes from the country's largest conglomerates. Park has been questioned nearly half-a-dozen times for these charges since her detainment.

Park was arrested and confined to a detention facility near Seoul last month on allegations that she colluded with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to extort from businesses and commit other wrongdoing.

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. Park's friend Choi is also on trial for a series of charges, which her lawyers have denied.

If found guilty, Park could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Park is also accused of creating a blacklist of cultural figures deemed critical of the government who were then denied state support, and abusing her power to force local firms to sign business contracts with Choi's companies.

South Korea is to hold an election on May 9 to choose her successor.

Ms Park was removed from office last month.

South Korean prosecutors have formally charged Park Geun-hye over high-profile corruption allegations that could potentially send the former president to jail for life.

Park and Choi allegedly conspired with one of Park's top presidential adviser to pressure 18 business groups, including Samsung, to donate 77.4 billion won ($69 million) for the launch of two non-profit foundations controlled by Choi.

2012: Park becomes the country's first female president in a landslide victory over liberal opponent Moon Jae-jin.

Park is the daughter of the former military dictator Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a coup in 1961 and ruled South Korea with martial law until his assassination in 1979. Some recall him as an enormous human rights abuser while others credit him for spearheading a rapid economic rise in the 1960-70s.