Former South Korean president facing possible life sentence

Jerome Frank
April 19, 2017

South Korea's recently impeached and ousted president, Park Geun-hye, was expected to be formally indicted today, becoming the first leader put on criminal trial since the mid-1990s, when two former military-backed presidents were imprisoned for corruption and mutiny.

"We have formally charged Park. with multiple offences including abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking state secrets", they said after wrapping up their months-long investigation.

Prosecutors also charged Shin Dong-Bin, the chairman of the giant Lotte Group, yesterday with bribing Choi and Park.

Park will reportedly remain in jail and will be escorted to Seoul, South Korea once the trial for the scandal begins.

In its indictment of Park on Monday, the prosecution added new charges of soliciting bribes from Lotte and SK groups.

Both Moon and Ahn criticized the hard-line North Korean policy of Park's government and Washington.

Woo Byung-woo, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs from 2015 to 2016, was also indicted for allegedly neglecting his duty in preventing Choi from meddling in state affairs and abusing his authority.

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— 1998: After years of mostly avoiding the public eye, Park enters politics and wins a parliamentary seat amid public nostalgia for her father at a time when South Korea was being battered by the Asian financial crisis.

Park is Korea's third president to stand trial on charges of bribery, though Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, who were convicted in 1995, were swiftly pardoned by their successor Kim Young-sam.

Ms Park is alleged to have been personally involved in this, and to have given Ms Choi unacceptable levels of access to official documents. In addition to the Samsung money, Park was accused of receiving 7 billion won from Lotte Group.

Shin allegedly offered seven billion won ($6.15 million) to a sports foundation linked with Choi in exchange for a policy favour from Park over Lotte's duty-free business. Lee denied the charges against him, saying that he sought no favor from Park's government in return for money Samsung admitted contributing to support Choi's foundations and her daughter.

Parliament impeached Park last December and she lost her executive privilege - including protection from criminal indictment - last month when the Constitutional Court confirmed her impeachment, sending her into detention.

Park's scandal triggered huge political turmoil in South Korea, with millions taking to the streets to call for her to go for months before her supporters launched their own protests.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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