- Title: Timeline explains the unfolding of South Korea's influence-peddling scandal
- Date: 5th January 2017
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - NOVEMBER 2, 2016) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** FORMER SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARY FOR POLICY COORDINATION, AHN JONG-BEOM, WALKING TOWARD SEOUL CENTRAL DISTRICT PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE AHN SURROUNDED BY MEDIA AHN SPEAKING The Seoul Central District Court also granted a warrant to prosecutors to arrest Ahn Chong-bum, a former senior advisor to Park, who faces charges of abuse of power and attempted extortion. An was already in custody under an emergency detention order. Prosecutors are looking into allegations that An and Choi forced South +Korean conglomerates to donate funds to non-profit foundations. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - NOVEMBER 4, 2016) (REUTERS) PARK WALKING TOWARD PODIUM AND BOWING PARK SAYING (Korean): "If needed, I will faithfully cooperate with prosecutors' investigation and I will also accept even an investigation by a special prosecutors' team." Park renewed a tearful apology on November 4 that her "heart was breaking" over the political scandal that had engulfed her administration and said she would cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - NOVEMBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) FLAGS OF SAMSUNG (LEFT AND RIGHT) AND NATIONAL FLAG OF SOUTH KOREA (CENTRE) FLYING FLAG OF SAMSUNG FLYING SOUTH KOREAN PROSECUTION INVESTIGATORS WALKING OUT OF ELEVATOR, CARRYING BLUE BOXES BLUE BOX BEING CARRIED / BOX READING (Korean and English): "PROSECUTION SERVICE" PROSECUTION INVESTIGATORS CARRYING BOXES, LEAVING SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS BUILDING Investigators in November raided the offices of Samsung Group, South Korea's largest family-run conglomerate, and Lotte Group as part of a widening probe into the scandal. The businesses are suspected of providing money to two foundations controlled by Choi to win government favours in relation to duty-free licenses, the South's Yonhap News Agency reported.
- Embargoed: 20th January 2017 02:26
- Keywords: South Korea influence peddling scandal Park Geun-hye timeline political scandal Choi Soon-sil impeachment President Park scandal
- Location: SEOUL, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA / AALBORG, DENMARK / HAGEN, GERMANY
- City: SEOUL, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA / AALBORG, DENMARK / HAGEN, GERMANY
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0045XSZTJ9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been impeached by parliament over her role in an influence-peddling scandal linked to her friend Choi Soon-sil, and now awaits a Constitutional Court review of that decision.
If upheld it would make her the first democratically-elected South Korean leader to leave office in disgrace.
Park, 64, is accused of colluding with Choi to pressure big businesses including Samsung to make contributions to non-profit foundations backing presidential initiatives.
Park has denied wrongdoing but apologised for carelessness in her ties with Choi, a friend for four decades, who has also denied wrongdoing. Choi is in detention while on trial.
The scandal has drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets of Seoul for weekly demonstrations demanding their president step down immediately.
A South Korean court has issued arrest warrants for two former presidential aides under investigation in the scandal.
Ahn Chong-bum faces charges of abuse of power and attempted extortion. Jeong Ho-seong was arrested on suspicion of leaking classified information.
Park's powers have been suspended and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn took over as acting president after 234 of parliament's 300 members voted to impeach her, meaning more than 60 members of her own party backed the motion against her.
Last month, the heads of nine of the biggest conglomerates, or chaebol, were subjected to an unprecedented 13-hour grilling by a parliamentary panel investigating the scandal. The nine groups have revenue of 910.5 trillion won ($780 billion), equivalent to more than half of South Korea's GDP.
While no executives have been charged with wrongdoing, many have been questioned by investigators and the offices of the Samsung, Lotte and SK groups were raided.
A special prosecutor's investigation into the scandal started last month.
The chairman of the world's third-largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), Moon Hyung-pyo, was arrested as special prosecutors have been looking into whether he pressured the pension fund to support the $8 billion merger last year of two Samsung Group affiliates.
Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra, a 20-year-old equestrian competitor who trained in Germany, is also currently being held in Denmark after police there arrested her on January 2 in the northern city of Aalborg.
South Korean authorities have sought Chung for alleged criminal interference related to her academic record and other unspecified charges.
Arguments at the Constitutional Court began on January 3 and closed shortly thereafter. Arguments will continue on January 5. Park's lawyer has said she will not be attending.
Choi and former presidential aides An and Jeong are expected to appear in the first hearing for arguments at the Seoul Central District Court on Thursday.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None