Seoul, South Korea. In a test of law in South Korea, the former President Park Geun-hye, will be going on trial for her life shortly as her charges can carry a prison sentence for life.
South Korean prosecutors have formally charged Park Geun-hye over high-profile corruption allegations that could potentially send the former president to jail for life.
The indictment covers multiple charges, including abuse of power, extortion, bribery and leaking state secrets.
Park will remain in the detention centre and taken to a Seoul court for her trial. It is expected to start within weeks and could take up to six months. It is unclear if the trial will be under way before 9 May when a special election will be held to determine her successor.
This is the latest in a series of humiliations for Park, who was driven from office by huge peaceful protests. She was impeached late last 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 money from businesses, take bribes and commit other wrongdoing.
South Korean prosecutors also indicted Shin Dong-bin, the chairman of Lotte Group, South Korea’s fifth-largest business conglomerate, on a charge of offering a bribe of 7 billion won ($6m) to Park and her romantic “partner,” Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for a lucrative government licence to open a new duty free shop.
The Park scandal triggered huge political turmoil in South Korea, with millions taking to the streets to call for her to go for months before her supporters launched their own protests. Dozens of high-level figures including Choi, top administration officials and Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong have already been indicted and await separate criminal trials.
Park and Choi allegedly conspired with one of Park’s top presidential advisers to pressure 18 business groups, including Samsung, to donate 77.4 billion won for the launch of two non-profit foundations controlled by Choi. Prosecutors also accuse the pair of taking bribes from Samsung and Lotte and blacklisting artists critical of Park’s government to refuse them state support.