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South Korea prosecutor: President colluded to take Samsung bribes

Both deny allegations

Gangnam calling for punishment of president Park Geun-hye and Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong

The president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, colluded with confidante Choi Soon-sil to take bribes from Samsung Group, the country's special prosecutor said today.

Park Geun-hye was suspended from Parliament in December and could now face prosecution if she is formally removed from office.

Last month Samsung's vice chair Lee Jae-yong was formally charged with bribery and embezzlement – sparking the dramatic shutdown of the tech giant's top strategic office.

Samsung execs under Lee's direction are thought by prosecutors to have donated $37.6m to Choi Soon-sil with the understanding that regulators would then approve Samsung's 2015 merger with Cheil Industries.

Special prosecutor Park Young-soo told journalists on Monday that bribery charges related to the president have been transferred to the prosecutors.

"Samsung Group vice chairman Lee Jae-yong colluded with others including the corporate strategy office chief Choi Gee-sung to bribe the president and Choi Soon-sil with an aim to receive support for his succession by embezzling corporate funds," Reuters reported.

Park Young-soo said Samsung Group vice chairman Lee Jae-yong colluded with others including the corporate strategy office chief Choi Gee-sung to bribe the president and her advisor Choi Soon-sil, who is also under investigation regarding her influence over governmental policy, "with an aim to receive support for his succession by embezzling corporate funds".

According to Reuters, president Park's lawyer said on Monday that the special prosecutor's charges against her were "fiction".

Samsung has denied it made bribes, saying that future court proceedings "will reveal the truth." ®


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