Prosecutors to indict Park, conclude investigation into corruption scandal

South Korean President Park Geun Hye is expected to be indicted today on multiple charges of bribery and other malfeasance. — AFP  VNA

In the indictment on Monday, the number of criminal charges against Park increased to 18, including bribery, coercion, abuse of office and illegal leaking of government secrets.

Park is accused of colluding with her friend Choi Soon-sil in coercing large conglomerates into donating to nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi and receiving tens of billions of won in bribes from Samsung.

They also charged, without detaining, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin with bribery in the latest twist to a corruption scandal that rocked the country for months.

Park will stay in jail during her trial due to start in weeks from now that could last up to six months. She is also accused of abusing her presidential authority to help Choi's business interests. Prosecutors stated [Reuters report] that Lotte paid approximately $6 million United States to Park for a wide variety of favors after experiencing operational turbulence at their locations in China. Park was impeached late past year, officially stripped of power in March and has been in a detention facility near Seoul since being arrested last month on allegations that she colluded with a confidante to extort from businesses, take bribes and commit other wrongdoing.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office also filed charges against ex-presidential aide Woo Byung-woo and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin - both without physical detention - over allegations tied to Park's case. Lee is reportedly being held at a detention center along with Choi.

Park, 65-year-old daughter of the late former dictator Park Chung-Hee, spent almost two decades living in Seoul's sprawling presidential palace, before the allegations of corruption engulfed her presidency late last year.

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. The eldest daughter of strongman dictator Park Chung-hee, Ms Park's election in December 2012 brought her back to the Blue House where she spent her formative years and served as acting first lady after her mother Yook Young-soo was assassinated in 1974.

The National Assembly voted late past year to impeach her on charges of bribery, extortion and abuse of power.

Lee, the de facto chief of Samsung, is already on trial along with four other executives from the company.

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