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Former South Korea president charged with bribery

Effigy of Park Geun-Hye from December 2016 protestsFormer South Korea President Park Geun-Hye was formally charged with bribery Monday, a month after being removed from office.

Prosecutors in Seoul said the former leader also faces charges of abusing her powers and leaking state secrets.

She’s being detained in central Seoul.

Park’s confidante Choi Soon-sil is already on trial for coercing Korean conglomerates into donating $68 million to two non-profit foundations. Choi also allegedly kept some of the money for herself.

Prosecutors said Park, 65, offered favors to top businessmen, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong. He was arrested for bribery in February.

Prosecutors Monday also charged Shin Dong-Bin, the chairman of retail giant Lotte Group, with bribing Choi and Park.

Shin allegedly offered $6.15 million to a sports foundation linked with Choi in exchange for Park’s help with Lotte’s duty-free business.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court unanimously ruled last month that Park should be removed from office after Parliament impeached her in December.

She was the country’s first female leader. Her five-year term was scheduled to end in 2018.

Park’s presidency collapsed in the corruption scandal and huge nationwide street protests.

She’s South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be removed from office.

Her successor will be chosen in elections set for May 9.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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