South Korea's Park charged with bribery and abuse of power

The criminal trial of Park is expected to begin after the May 9 presidential election and the first court ruling may come out by mid-October at the latest.

Park, 65, was charged with colluding with her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil to receive tens of millions of USA dollars in bribes from Samsung Group and Lotte Group, while demanding millions dollars from SK Group.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has already been detained for offering tens of millions of dollars in bribes to the non-profit foundations controlled by Choi and a German company owned by Choi.

Shin Dong-Bin is accused of using more than $6 million to bribe Park and her secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, the prosecutors said on the same day they charged Park with bribery and abuse of power.

The prosecutor's office in Seoul's central district also filed charges against ex-presidential aide Woo Byung-woo and Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin over allegations tied to Ms Park's case. The group said it would defend itself in court to resolve suspicions.

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 US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system outside Seoul.

The retail giant Lotte, with interests ranging from hotels and retail to food and chemicals, becomes the second conglomerate mired in the political scandal.

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

Park has been behind bars at a detention center in the outskirts of Seoulsince her arrest last month.

South Korean ousted president Park Geun-hye.

The two were also charged with collecting $38 million in bribes or promised bribes from Samsung.

The court's decision marks yet another humiliating fall for Park - South Korea's first female president who was elected in 2012 amid a wave of conservative nostalgia for her late dictator father whose 18-year rule is marked by both rapid economic rise and extensive human rights abuses.

Former President Park Geun-hye charged with bribery, among others, over corruption scandal that led to her impeachment.

Official campaigning for the election kicked off yesterday.



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