Former President Park Geun-hye Indicted for Corruption

According to the article Park is accused of taking and soliciting bribes.  Have the prosecutors finally found hard evidence that she actually took money because we have not seen it yet?:

Former President Park Geun-hye arrives at a detention center in Uiwang, south of Seoul, in a car on March 31, 2017, after a court issued a warrant to arrest her in connection with a corruption scandal that led to her removal from office. (Yonhap)

South Korean prosecutors indicted jailed former President Park Geun-hye Monday as they wrapped up a six-month probe into the corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought her down last month.

Park has been charged with bribery, abuse of power, coercion and leaking government secrets in 18 suspected crimes, mostly involving her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil and former key aides.

Park became the country’s third former president to stand trial over corruption allegations, after Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo.

In the indictment, the prosecutors accused Park of taking and soliciting bribes worth 59.2 billion won ($52 million) from three conglomerates — Samsung, Lotte and SK — for herself or her friend.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but Park is facing 10 years in jail if convicted.

Picture of the Day: North Korea Reports on Park Geun-hye’s Arrest

N.K. media reports Park's arrest

A North Korean TV announcer reports on the arrest of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye on March 31, 2017. Most of the North’s state-run media outlets reported the news about 13 hours after Park’s arrest, calling it a stern punishment by history and popular sentiment. (KCNA-Yonhap)

Former President Park Arrested and Held in Detention Center

Once Park Geun-hye was impeached it was only a matter of time before this happened:

Former President Park Geun-hye leaves the Seoul Central District Court in the capital on March 30, 2017, after a hearing on a warrant to arrest her. The court issued the warrant the next day, citing the necessity and the graveness of the alleged crimes. (Yonhap)

Former President Park Geun-hye was arrested on Friday in connection with a corruption scandal that led to her removal from office.

The Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant to detain Park on charges of bribery, abuse of authority, coercion and leaking government secrets, after a marathon hearing the previous day.

“The need for her arrest is acknowledged because there is probable cause to charge her and a concern of evidence being destroyed,” Judge Kang Boo-young said.

Park, ousted in a historic ruling on March 10, became the country’s third former president to be arrested over criminal allegations, following Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.

Following the decision, Park was transferred to a detention center south of Seoul from the prosecution’s office where she had been waiting for the result after the nearly nine-hour court hearing.

The detention center is where key figures embroiled in the scandal, including Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil and Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong, are held in custody.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Michael Breen On Why Former President Park Was Impeached

I think long time Korea watcher Michael Breen is spot on with this assessment of the impeachment of President Park:

Compared to many countries, South Korea is fiercely democratic. But South Koreans want to be better. After each election, the winner is allowed to act like a short-term monarch and everyone blessed with a connection looks for advantage. By the end of the fourth year, the stench of favor is too much, and approval ratings plunge so low that the outgoing president is considered a liability by his own party’s next candidate. Of the five democratically elected presidents before Park, one was jailed, another committed suicide to avoid a prosecution investigation, and the other three saw their family members go to jail. Now, Park is the first to actually be tossed out.

Although disappointing on the policy front, Park, in all fairness, has been no worse than the others on the moral front. In fact, being unmarried—and, as far as we know, never even having had a boyfriend—as well as being distanced from her siblings, she was assumed to be free of the complications that dogged her predecessors. So, when it turned out she had a best friend who enjoyed unheard of privileges, whose daughter rode a horse in the Olympics, and who received unfair entrance to a university, the country went ape.  [The Atlantic]

You can read the rest at the link, but Michael Breen goes on to explain how the establishment knew Park had to go because of how unpopular she had become and the size of the protests against her and thus impeachment was inevitable.

Korean Prosecutors to Seek Arrest Warrant for Former President Park Geun-hye

I have yet to see any solid evidence that former President Park was trying to shake down people for money like her friend Choi Soon-shil was apparently doing.  Despite the lack of evidence it is pretty clear that the Korean left just wants to see Park dragged into a courtroom.  I guess we will see what happens, maybe the prosecutors have some hard evidence they have not released:

Former President Park Geun-hye leaves her home in Seoul for prosecution questioning on March 21, 2017. Park, dismissed by the Constitutional Court on March 10, faces a probe on 13 criminal allegations, including graft and abuse of power. Upon arrival at the prosecution’s office, Park said she will comply with the investigation with sincerity. (Yonhap)

South Korean prosecutors said Monday they will request an arrest warrant for former President Park Geun-hye over a string of corruption allegations that led to her removal from office.

Park faces charges of bribery, abuse of power, coercion and leaking government secrets in connection with a scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.

Park went through a marathon interrogation over the suspicions last week after the Constitutional Court upheld the National Assembly’s decision to dismiss her on March 10.

If the Seoul Central District Court issues the warrant, Park will become the country’s third former president to be arrested for criminal allegations following Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.  [Yonhap]


Picture of the Day: Pictures of Park Removed from Blue House

Park's photos removed from Cheong Wa Dae

These before (top) and after photos, taken between March 13 and 14, 2017, show that pictures of former President Park Geun-hye were taken down from the media compound of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. The compound is used to house the press and for media-related events such as presidential news conferences. Park was removed from office in a ruling by the Constitutional Court on March 10. (Yonhap)

Impeached President Park to Be Interview By Prosecutors Next Week

It will be very interesting to see if the prosecutors get anything to stick to Park Geun-hye:

Prosecutors said Wednesday they have informed former President Park Geun-hye to show up for a questioning on March 21, 2017. Park will be questioned as a suspect in an abuse of power and corruption scandal.

The Constitutional Court permanently removed Park from office on Friday, lifting the presidential immunity that has shielded her from criminal prosecution. A special investigation team headed by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office chief Lee Young-ryeol is currently investigating the allegations.

Independent counsel Park Young-soo handed over unfinished cases against Park to the prosecution last week. The special investigation team, which started the initial probe into the scandal involving Park, her inner circle and large business groups at the end of last year, was revived.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

Picture of the Day: Park Geun-hye Leaves Blue House in 1979

Court rules to impeach Park

Former President Park Geun-hye is photographed departing the presidential office and residence Cheong Wa Dae on Nov. 21, 1979. Park had lived at Cheong Wa Dae when her father Park Chung-hee was president and also served as the first lady after her mother was assassinated. She moved out of the presidential compound after her father was also assassinated in October 1979. On March 10, 2017, the eight judges of the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously to impeach Park, forcing her to move out again unexpectedly. (Yonhap file photo)

Picture of the Day: Former President Preparing for Move

Park's residence in southern Seoul under inspection

Former President Park Geun-hye’s residence in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, is under inspection by her guards on March 11, 2017, before she returns from Cheong Wa Dae. Park is currently staying in the presidential house despite the Constitutional Court’s decision on Friday to remove her from office over corruption scandal. (Yonhap)

Judge: Former President Park Removed from Office “to End Bad Political Customs”

For people who have followed South Korean politics for many years what former President Park was removed from office for is something that past Presidents have arguably done.  How many shady corruption scandals have past ROK Presidents’ family and friends been involved in?  For example Park’s shady friend is no where near as bad as former President Kim Dae-jung’s cash for summit scandal with North Korea.   The ROK Constitutional Court says it has decided to end the bad political customs that have effected Korean politics with their ruling.  I guess we will see if in the future every ROK President is now impeached for corruption scandals involving close friends or relatives:

“The president must exert her powers in respect to the Constitution and laws and her performance of her public duty must be transparently revealed for public evaluation,” Lee said. “But Park completely hid Choi’s intervention in state affairs. Whenever suspicions were raised, she denied and even criticized those raising the questions. Therefore, the checking and monitoring ability of constitutional institutions such as the National Assembly and media failed to function.”

The court also announced supplementary opinions regarding Park’s alleged nonfeasance during the Sewol ferry’s sinking, in which 304 passengers died on April 16, 2014 due to a weak government rescue operation. Although the judges agreed that her nonfeasance during the tragedy could not be used as grounds for dismissal, Judges Kim Yi-su and Lee Jin-sung said Park did fail her constitutional duty to faithfully serve as the president and a public servant. Judge Ahn Chang-ho also gave the opinion that the impeachment trial was not an ideological contest, but a matter of protecting the constitutional order, and dismissal was necessary to end bad political customs. [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.