South Korean prosecutors on Monday indicted ex-President Park Geun-hye on high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life.
It is the latest in a series of humiliations for Park, who was driven from office by massive and peaceful popular protests. Park was impeached late last year, officially stripped of power in March and has been in a detention facility near Seoul since being arrested last month on allegations that she colluded with a confidante to extort from businesses, take bribes and commit other wrongdoing.
The indictment by Seoul prosecutors covers multiple charges, including abuse of power, extortion, bribery and leaking state secrets.
Park will remain jailed and be escorted from the detention center to a Seoul court for a trial that is to start in coming weeks and could take as long as six months. It is still unclear if the trial will start before a May 9 special election that will determine her successor.
Prosecutors also indicted Shin Dong-bin, the chairman of Lotte Group, South Korea’s fifth-largest business conglomerate, on a charge of offering a bribe of 7 billion won ($6 million) to Park and her confidante in exchange for a lucrative government license to open a new duty free shop.
Park, 65, was elected South Korea’s first female president in late 2012. The country will now watch as she is forced to stand in court while handcuffed, bound with rope and possibly dressed in prison garb.