|Published : 17 Apr 2017, 21:11:29|
S Korea charges ousted leader Park
SEOUL, Apr 17 (AP): South Korean prosecutors indicted ex-President Park Geun-hye on Monday on bribery, extortion, abuse of power and other high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life.
It is the latest in a series of humiliations for Park, who was driven from office by massive and peaceful popular protests. Park was impeached in December, officially stripped of power in March and has been in a detention facility near Seoul since being arrested last month on allegations that she extorted from businesses, took bribes and committed other wrongdoing, all in collaboration with a longtime confidante.
Prosecutors also indicted Shin Dong-bin, the chairman of Lotte, South Korea's fifth-largest business conglomerate, on a charge of offering a bribe of 7 billion won ($6 million) to Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil in exchange for a lucrative government license to open a new duty free shop.
Park will remain jailed and be escorted from the detention center to a Seoul court for a trial that is to start in coming weeks and could take as long as six months. It is still unclear if the trial will start before a May 09 special election that will determine her successor.
Park, 65, was elected South Korea's first female president in late 2012. The country will now watch as she is forced to stand in court while handcuffed, bound with rope and possibly dressed in prison garb.
If convicted, her bribery charge carries the biggest punishment, ranging from 10 years in prison to life imprisonment.