South Korea's President Facing Multiple Indictments

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December 11, 2016

The investigation of South Korean suspended President Park Geun-hey is complete, and she now faces official allegations of attempted coercion.

Park, elected as the country's first female leader in 2012, was impeached by the National Assembly and now faces removal by the Constitutional Court. She has been replaced as the country's leader by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn but is still technically the President and so is still immune from prosecution. If she is removed from office, however, she could face criminal charges.

Park stands accused of applying pressure on behalf of longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, who holds no elective office but is a businesswoman who many say has profited from her connections with Park.

The most recent indictment was of Cha Eun-take, who directed a music video for the internationally popular musician Psy. The director is accused of convincing the telecommunications business KT Corp. to hire an advertising company owned by Park's friend Choi. Park and Choi were also named in the indictment; they were also named in an earlier indictment as pressuring a number of businesses to donate tens of millions of dollars to foundations that Choi runs.

A separate allegation is that Park, former culture vice minister Kim Cong, and two other people pressured Grand Korea Leisure Co. to create a fencing team for the disabled.

Choi is also believed to have gained access, through her friendship with Park, to classified information.

The investigation into the dealings involving Park and Choi has resulted in the indictments of 11 people, including three former presidential aides. Most of the people indicted have already been arrested.

The Constitutional Court has up to six months to hand down a decision. Six of the nine justices must vote to uphold the impeachment.

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