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Former South Korea president indicted

[JURIST] Former South Korean president Guen-Hye Park [BBC profile] was indicted on numerous corruption charges including extortion, abuse of power, and bribery on Monday. Prosecutors from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' officer [official website] also indicted Shin Dong-bin [Forbes profile], chairman of the Lotte Group [official website], on similar bribery charges but did not move to have Dong-bin detained. Prosecutors stated [Reuters report] that Lotte paid approximately $6 million US to Park for a wide variety of favors after experiencing operational turbulence at their locations in China. Park will remain in a Seoul prison and will be transported to and from the Seoul Central District Court [official website] for the entirety of her trial. The trial is expected to being in the coming weeks, however, it is still unclear if the trial will start before a special election to determine Park's successor which is currently scheduled for May 9th. The trial could take as long as six months.

This is the latest development in a scandal that has grown to encompass numerous South Korean political and corporate leaders. Earlier this month South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld [JURIST report] parliament's decision to impeach Park over a scandal related to government bribes paid by Samsung. South Korean lawmakers voted 234-56 to impeach [JURIST report] Park in December. In February Samsung's would-be head Lee was arrested [JURIST report] on charges of bribery and undue influence in connection with the scandal. Five Samsung executives denied the charges [JURIST report] of bribery, embezzlement and corruption that were leveled against them in connection with Park. Two weeks ago the Seoul Central District Court said that it reassigned Lee's bribery case [JURIST report] to a new judge, after reports surfaced the same week concerning the previous judge's connection to a woman Lee is accused of bribing. In February South Korea's special prosecutor indicted former culture minister Yoon-sun Cho [official profile] and former presidential chief of staff Ki-choon Kim on charges of coercion, abuse of power and perjury connected to creation of a blacklist of opposition artists critical to Park. Park was arrested [JURIST report] on charges of bribery, coercion, abuse of power, and leaking government secrets on March 31.

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