Park Could Face Life in Jail After Indictment

Kristopher Drake
April 19, 2017

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been formally charged in the scandal that got her removed from office last month.

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

Prosecutors allege Park colluded with Choi to make Lotte's Shin give 7 billion won ($6.2 million) in bribes to a foundation Choi had set up. She allegedly used her presidential ties to force local firms to "donate" almost $70 million to non-profit foundations which she allegedly used for personal gain.

Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin arrives for a trial at a court in Seoul, South Korea, March 20, 2017.

Her indictment Monday, a widely expected follow-up to her arrest, will prompt the Seoul Central District Court to open a trial.

Former President Park Geun-hye was indicted by Prosecutors on April. 17 on charges of bribery.

Park, Choi and Samsung's top executive have all denied any wrongdoing.

A total of 18 criminal charges were levied against Park, including bribery, abuse of power, extortion and the leakage of confidential documents.

Lotte, South Korea's fifth-biggest conglomerate, is grappling with the Chinese shutdown of dozens of its stores in China, after it agreed to provide land for the United States Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system outside Seoul.

The $US52 million they were accused of collecting or demanding in bribes from businesses included $US38 million in bribes or promised bribes from Samsung.

The contribution, which was made by Lotte in May past year, was returned back to Lotte, right before prosecutors' raid in June into the Lotte headquarters and offices for Shin's charges of embezzlement and dereliction of duty.

Park was taken into custody on March 31 after the Constitutional Court made a decision to uphold parliament's impeachment of South Korea's 11th president in an influence-peddling scandal.

Park, too, has denied the charges against her, arguing that she was victimized by her political enemies.

Park is also charged with abusing her authority to help Choi's business interests, exclude artists critical of Park from state budget and sack government officials uncooperative with her wrongdoings.

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.

If she is convicted of bribery, Park, 65, could face 10 years to life in prison, although her successor has the power to free her with a special presidential pardon.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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