Park could face up to 45 years in prison
기사입력 2017-03-21 17:44 | 최종수정 2017-03-21 22:10
By Jun Ji-hye
The prosecution plans to bring charges against former President Park Geun-hye after looking into 13 corruption allegations raised against her.
If convicted on all counts, she could face up to 45 years in prison, legal experts say.
The core suspicion, among others, is the ousted leader's alleged collusion with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to receive massive bribes from conglomerates, including Samsung Group.
'Park's bribery suspicion is subject to aggravated punishment,' Park Beom-kye, a judge-turned-lawmaker from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) wrote on Facebook. 'A sentence of up to 30 years in prison could be issued for that, and if other suspicions are added to it, the sentence could increase to up to 45 years in prison.'
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been detained since last month on bribery and embezzlement charges including allegedly giving 7.8 billion won ($6.82 million) to Choi's Germany-based paper company, Core Sports, in return for business favors.
According to the law on additional punishments for specific crimes, Park could simultaneously face a fine of up to about 35 billion won, five times more than she received, the lawmaker added.
According to state prosecutors and an independent counsel team, the former head of state was suspected of colluding with Choi and former presidential aide An Chong-bum in pressuring 53 conglomerates to donate a total of 77.4 billion won to two shady foundations ― Mir and K-Sports ― controlled by Choi.
When wrapping up their then-investigation at the end of last year, state prosecutors said in their arraignment that this act was applicable to abuse of power and extortion. At the time, they stated eight allegations involving Park.
Then, the independent counsel later concluded that such an act constitutes bribery or 'third-party' bribery, adding five more allegations. Third-party bribery charges are leveled against a person who exerts influence to help a third person or entity take bribes.
The state prosecutors are now expanding their probe into other conglomerates including SK Group to find out whether or not Park asked for special favors from such companies.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won was grilled by prosecutors Saturday over suspicions the conglomerate donated a total of 11.1 billion won to the foundations in return for a presidential pardon for him. Chey was then serving a prison term for embezzlement and other crimes.
Investigators are also concentrating efforts to prove complicity between Park and Choi.
The former president is also suspected of ordering her aides to compile a blacklist of artists who were critical of the government or had openly declared their support for opposition politicians. Artists on the list were banned from government support, according to the independent counsel.
Former Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun and former presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon were arrested over their suspected roles in the creation and management of the list.
In addition, Park allegedly abused her power to fire government officials who were not supportive of her administration's alleged irregularities, including the creation of the blacklist.
Prosecutors also accused Park of having ordered former presidential aide Jeong Ho-seong to send confidential government materials including drafts of presidential speeches to Choi, which made it possible for her to meddle in state affairs without having an official government position.
[기사: THE KOREA TIMES]