South Korean President Park Geun-hye colluded with a friend to take bribes from Samsung Group aimed at cementing Samsung Chief Jay Y. Lee's control of the conglomerate, the special prosecutor's office said yesterday, paving the way for Park to be prosecuted if removed from office.
The findings of the 70-day probe directly accuse the impeached Park of wrongdoing on several charges, including the bribery conspiracy implicating Samsung. Lee goes on trial for bribery and embezzlement on Thursday amid a corruption scandal that has rocked South Korea and led to the impeachment.
Park, 65, has had her powers suspended since her impeachment by parliament in December. Should the Constitutional Court uphold the impeachment, she would become the country's first democratically elected president to be thrown out of office, triggering an election in Asia's fourth-largest economy. A decision is expected as early as this week.
South Korean law does not allow a sitting president to be indicted unless she is accused of treason. No formal charges can be brought against her until she is either removed from office or her term ends as scheduled in late February 2018.
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