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Ex-President Park Geun-hye indicted in corruption probe

All News 16:41 April 17, 2017

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye was indicted Monday on multiple charges, including bribery, as prosecutors wrapped up their probe into the influence-peddling scandal that brought her down last month.

The former president is accused of abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking government secrets, prosecutors said. She was taken into custody on March 31.

In addition to allegations Park colluded with her friend Choi Soon-sil in coercing local conglomerates to donate a total of 77.4 billion won (US$68 million) to two nonprofit foundations -- Mir and K-Sports -- the ex-leader is also accused of soliciting bribes from Lotte and SK groups.

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was put on trial on charges of giving 7 billion won to the K-Sports Foundation, allegedly controlled by Choi.

SK Group avoided prosecution as it did not give 8.9 billion won in donations sought by the former president.

Prosecutors suspect that Park promised favors in relation to the conglomerates' bids for duty-free shops and other business projects. The retail giant Lotte was selected by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) to operate the lucrative shop in Seoul, together with Hyundai and Shinsegae, in December.

Park reportedly denied all the charges during her five rounds of questioning in jail.

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.

Prosecutors have been accelerating the investigation to conclude it before Monday's launch of the official campaign for the May 9 presidential election.

Former President Park Geun-hye arrives at a detention center in Uiwang, south of Seoul, in a car on March 31, 2017, after a court issued a warrant to arrest her in connection with a corruption scandal that led to her removal from office. (Yonhap)


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