South Korea's corruption scandal ensnares 2nd top boss

Park was forced out of office by massive, but peaceful, popular protests.She was impeached late previous year, stripped of power in March and confined to a detention facility near Seoul since her arrest last month on chrges that she colluded with a confidante to extort from businesses, take bribes and commit other wrongdoing (See: S Korea ex-president Park Geun-hye jailed as court denies bail).

The corruption scandal led to Park's impeachment last December, and she was officially removed from office in March. Choi and the company's top executive, Lee Jae-yong, were also under arrest and on trial.

They also charged, without detaining, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin with bribery in the latest twist to a corruption scandal that rocked the country for months.

With the indictment, the prosecutors ended a six-month, multifaceted probe into the corruption scandal that forced Park out of office last month. Park and Choi are accused of receiving $68 million, with about half of that money coming from Samsung.

In another blow to Lotte Group, whose family members are already standing trial for their involvement in embezzlement, tax evasion and fraud, its chief Shin was indicted for seeking a favor from Park to secure a business license for its duty-free shop by contributing 7 billion won to the K-Sports Foundation.

The retail giant Lotte, with interests ranging from hotels and retail to food and chemicals, becomes the second conglomerate mired in the political scandal after Jay Y. Lee, the chief of the biggest, Samsung Group, was arrested suspected of bribing Park and her friend, Choi Soon-sil.

Shin Dong Bin, 62, allegedly offered seven billion won to a sports foundation linked to Choi in exchange for a policy favour from Park over Lotte's duty- free business.

The prosecution, which also brought in SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won for questioning, did not file charges against him.

If found guilty, Park could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Park Geun Hye, South Korea's president, attends a closing session at the Nuclear Security Summit April 1, 2016 in Washington, D.C. After a spate of terrorist attacks from Europe to Africa, Obama is rallying worldwide support during the summit for an effort to keep Islamic State and similar groups from obtaining nuclear material and other weapons of mass destruction. It is unclear if the trial will start before a 9 May special election that will determine her successor.

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