Head of retail powerhouse Lotte indicted in South Korea corruption scandal

Former President Park Geun-hye received 59.2 billion won ($52.1 million) in bribes, South Korean prosecutors said Monday, indicting the leader on a total of 18 charges.

Prosecutors yesterday also charged the chairman of retail giant Lotte Group with bribery.

"It really is a pity that we have the third president indicted on bribery charges".

He is accused of aiding and abetting Choi in meddling in state affairs and amassing profits using her ties to Park, though a local court refused to issue a warrant to arrest him last week.

Now Choi faces an additional charge of bribery involving Shin, the prosecutors said. Choi and the company's top executive, Lee Jae-yong, were also under arrest and on trial.

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.

SK chairman Chey Tae-won narrowly escapes prosecution because his conglomerate refused to submit to demands for extra cash after a hefty initial donation to Choi's dubious Mir and K-Sports foundations.

In March past year, Chairman Shin met face-to-face with Park and his conglomerate regained its lost license to run duty-free shops in downtown Seoul.

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Prosecutors accused Park of colluding with Choi to receive 7 billion won ($6.16 million) from Lotte for favors, they said in a statement.

Park was taken into custody on March 31 after the Constitutional Court chose to uphold parliament's impeachment of South Korea's 11th president in an influence-peddling scandal.

A South Korea detention centre has come under fire over allegations it gave special treatment to former President Park Geun-hye, who faces charges in the bribery scandal that saw her removed from office in March.

The media outlet specified that prosecutors have been advancing the investigation to finish it before the Monday's launch of the official campaign for the early presidential election slated for the May 9.

Park, Lee, Choi and Samsung Group have also denied wrongdoing.

Park denies all the charges, saying she's the victim of a conspiracy and did not know about Choi's alleged activities.

Park (65), who was elected South Korea's first female president in late 2012, will be forced to stand in court in handcuffs, bound with rope and possibly dressed in a prisoners uniform.

Park is the daughter of the former military dictator Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a coup in 1961 and ruled South Korea with martial law until his assassination in 1979.

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