News

12 March 2017

Corruption scandal in South Korea

South Korea's top court has unaniminously ruled to formally end impeached Park Geun-hye's presidency over a corruption scandal that has plunged the country into political turmoil.

Park Geun-hye 65, has been accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former presidential aide, both of whom have been on trial, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.

She is also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favours including the backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen to support the succession of control over the country's largest "chaebol" conglomerate.

Park's action had "seriously impaired the spirit of ... democracy and the rule of law," said constitutional court chief justice Lee Jung-Mi. "President Park Geun-hye ... has been dismissed."

Prosecutors have arrested and indicted a slew of high-profile figures over the scandal, including Park's confidante Choi Soon-sil, top Park administration officials and Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong.

But Park has avoided a direct investigation thanks to a law that gives a sitting president immunity from prosecution for most of alleged crimes.

Since she's now no longer in power, prosecutors can summon, question and possibly arrest her.

Park will not vacate the official residence of the president of South Korea, the Blue House, on Friday as her aides are preparing for her return to her private home in southern Seoul.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/park-geun-hye-impeachment-170310020959193.html