Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye Is Formally Indicted

The indictment by Seoul prosecutors covers multiple charges, including abuse of power, extortion, bribery and leaking state secrets.

South Korean prosecutors on Monday charged ousted president Park Geun-hye and Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin with bribery in the latest twist to a corruption scandal that rocked the country for months.

Park has been behind bars at a detention center in the outskirts of Seoulsince her arrest last month. Park was impeached late previous year, officially stripped of power in March and has been in a detention facility near Seoul since being arrested last month on allegations that she colluded with a confidante to extort from businesses, take bribes and commit other wrongdoing.

South Korean prosecutors on Monday indicted ex-President Park Geun-hye on high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life.

Park's criminal trial is expected to start in the coming weeks and she will remain jailed during court proceedings that could take as long as six months.

Still, the AP reports it's unclear whether that trial will kick off prior to the May 9 special election that will decide South Korea's next president. The previous two imprisoned leaders were military-backed presidents who were charged with corruption and mutiny.

Park was accused of taking a total of 59.2 billion won (52 million US dollars) in bribes both directly and indirectly from business conglomerates, called chaebol here, and their founding families. Samsung Group's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was arrested for bribing Choi and in effect Park in return for helping him secure group control through a merger of two key units.

The retail giant denied allegations that it made improper deals with Park, or those linked to her, for favors.

The contribution, which was made by Lotte in May a year ago, was returned back to Lotte, right before prosecutors' raid in June into the Lotte headquarters and offices for Shin's charges of embezzlement and dereliction of duty.

Park Chung-hee's iron-fisted 18-year rule ended after he was gunned down by his spy chief in 1979, five years after his wife was killed during an assassination attempt that originally targeted her husband.

Lee, Park and Choi are being held at detention centres.

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