By Jeanette Tan, International News Writer
Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye was arrested on Friday, March 31, following a number of charges related to abuse of power and corruption, including the acceptance of a 43.3 billion won (US$38.6 million) bribe from Samsung. South Korean prosecutors had applied for an arrest warrant for the former president on Monday, March 27.
According to CNN, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement, “The suspect abused the mighty power and position as President to take bribes from companies and infringed upon the freedom of corporate management and leaked important confidential official information.”
Earlier on March 10, the Constitutional Court upheld a decision to impeach Park, removing her from office and causing her to lose presidential immunity. The former president was accused of being unduly influenced by longtime friend and confidant, Choi Soon-sil, who used her presidential connections to extort large sums of money from companies for foundations she controlled.
BBC reported a ruling by the Constitutional Court saying Park had “concealed completely Choi’s meddling in state affairs and denied it whenever suspicions over the act emerged and even criticized those who raised the suspicions.”
Park was taken to Seoul Detention Centre on Friday, where Choi and the acting head of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, have also been detained. Choi is already on trial on charges of bribery and corruption. Prosecutors said the ex-president has not yet been formally indicted, and that she can been detained for up to 20 days before they indict her.
Park, the daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, is the third former president to be arrested for corruption. The political scandal has dominated South Korean headlines for months and prompted several mass protests since its emergence. A presidential election will be held on May 9 to choose a new leader.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 4th print edition.
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