Prosecutors in South Korea have filed new charges against ousted President Park Geun-hye, accusing her of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the nation’s intelligence agency.
An official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office told reporters Thursday they learned from three former chiefs of the National Intelligence Service they paid Park over $3 million between 2013, the year she first took office, and 2016. She allegedly used the money for a variety of purposes, such as maintenance fees on her private residence and paying incentives and bonuses for her presidential aides.
Two of the former NIS directors have been indicted in connection with the bribery case.
Park was impeached in December 2016 and forced from office last March by South Korea’s Constitutional Court over allegations she colluded with longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to extort companies to donate $70 million to dubious foundations in exchange for favorable treatment. She has been on trial since last May on 18 charges related to the scandal, ranging from bribery, coercion and abuse of power.
Park has been in custody since her removal from office. Her original team of lawyers resigned en masse last October after the court extended her detention for an extra six months, until April of this year, accusing the judges of bias. She has since refused to cooperate with a team of court-appointed lawyers.
Park, South Korea’s first female president, is the first elected leader to be removed from office since democracy was established in South Korea in 1987.