Former South Korean President Indicted For Bribery

South Korea's ousted leader Park Geun-hye leaves a prosecutor's office in Seoul, South Korea, March 22, 2017.

Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye has been formally charged in a corruption scandal that led to her impeachment.

Prosecutors are allowed to detain Park until next Wednesday without indicting her. Since her arrest, prosecutors have questioned Park five more times inside the Seoul Detention Center, where she has been held since her arrest.

Park is accused of colluding with her confidante at the heart of the scandal, Choi Soon-sil, who is already on trial for coercing local conglomerates into donating a total of 77.4 billion won (€64 million) to two non-profit foundations.

Park, too, has denied the charges against her, arguing that she was victimized by her political enemies. If found guilty, Park could face life in prison.

Lotte's chief Shin is also on a separate graft trial involving family members charged with embezzlement and breach of trust. Park, Lee, Choi and Samsung Group have also denied wrongdoing.

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 global companies such as Samsung and Lotte.

2012: Park becomes the country's first female president in a landslide victory over liberal opponent Moon Jae-jin.

South Korea pardoned two of its 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 punishing corrupt business tycoons because of worries about hurting the economy.

When she was arrested on March 31, she faced charges of coercion and abuse of power for her alleged collusion with Choi in extorting tens of billions of won from conglomerates.

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 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.

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