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South Korean prosecutors expect to indict Park next Monday

South Korean prosecutors expect to indict Park next Monday

The prosecution indicted former President Park Geun-hye on April 17 on charges including bribery and abuse of power, concluding a six-month probe into the corruption scandal that forced her out of office.

Park is accused by prosecutors of helping Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend, extort donations from South Korea's biggest conglomerates in exchange for political favors. All three are being held at detention centres.

Lotte denied allegations that it made improper deals with Park, or those linked to her, for favours, but said it would explain itself at court to resolve suspicions.

Park has denied any legal wrongdoing, arguing that she only got help from Choi to edit some presidential speeches and on public relations.

Now Choi faces an additional charge of bribery involving Shin, the prosecutors said. Woo is charged with condoning Choi's meddling in state affairs and abusing his authority to wield undue influence under the Park administration.

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.

The former president was taken into custody on March 31st after millions of Koreans took to the streets to protest.

A historic leader from a South Korean political dynasty, Park was forced from office in March amid a massive corruption scandal that engulfed not just her government but major worldwide companies such as Samsung and Lotte.

South Korea pardoned two convicted former leaders in the late 1990s in a bid for national reconciliation amid financial crisis, and its court had until recently showed leniency toward jailing many corrupt business tycoons because of worries about hurting the economy. Samsung's contributions to the foundations and generous sponsorship of the equestrian training of Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra were described as alleged bribes, and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was indicted for offering or promising a total of 43.3 billion won to the president. Park leaves the Blue House after her father's state funeral.

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 Defense (THAAD) system outside Seoul.


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