By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) - Corruption charges were laid against former President Park Geun-hye on Monday as prosecutors ended an investigation, local media reported.
Park was taken into custody on March 31 after the Constitutional Court decided to uphold parliament’s impeachment of South Korea’s 11th president in an influence-peddling scandal.
She is accused of abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking government secrets, Yonhap news agency reported, citing prosecutors.
As well as claims she and her friend Choi Soon-sil coerced conglomerates into donating 77.4 billion won ($68 million) to two nonprofit foundations, Park is also accused of soliciting bribes from the Lotte and SK groups.
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was also charged Monday with buying favors by paying out 7 billion won ($6 million) to one of the nonprofit organizations -- the K-Sports foundation -- linked to Park and allegedly controlled by Choi.
Yonhap said prosecutors suspect the ex-president promised favors in return for the bids for business projects.
Park has denied the allegations against her during five interrogation sessions.
She faces decades in prison if convicted, unless she is pardoned, as other former leaders have been previously.
Woo Byung-woo, a senior presidential aide from 2015 to 2016, was indicted for alleged negligence in preventing Choi from interfering in state affairs and abusing his authority.
Prosecutors were reportedly keen to finish the investigation before Monday’s launch of the May 9 presidential election campaign.