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South Korea's president ousted, headed for prosecution

12 March 2017

In what is being called "the trial of the century", the heir to the Samsung empire went on trial Thursday alleged to have made payments of up to $38 million to Park and her adviser Choi Soon-sil. "She had one more year left as "president" but, now she's been ousted, she will be investigated as a common criminal", the North Korean mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said a brief dispatch.

Prosecutors say the case for removing Park from office for her role in the corruption scandal could not have been clearer, but her lawyers have vowed to fight on, the Washington Post reports.

A daughter of former President Park Chung-hee and the nation's first female president, Park has been embroiled in a scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil since late past year.

They carried flags and candles and cheered jubilantly, a day after the Constitutional Court removed her from office over a corruption scandal which had consumed the nation for months.

The court said she had broken the law by allowing Ms Choi to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.

South Korea's recently impeached president Park Geun-hye maintained her silence Saturday, remaining inside the presidential palace while rival protests continued in the streets.

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The Constitutional Court on Friday readies to deliver its impeachment verdict on Park Geun-hye.

Today's announcement from Constitutional Court puts an end to a three-month legal process and puts South Korea in "presidential election mode", an expert said.

Nov 4, 2016: Park makes her second televised apology, saying she would take responsibility if found guilty.

The next South Korean presidential election will likely to be held in early May, and the Minjoo Party's Moon Jae-in remains the frontrunner, according to the latest polls. Questions have also been raised about her influence over key policy decisions. An Hee-jung, Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party, acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and liberal Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung.

Park Geun-hye has also been accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favors, including backing a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen as supporting family succession and control over the country's largest chaebol, or family-run conglomerate.

Lee denied any wrongdoing. He was indicted on charges including pledging 43 billion won ($37.24 million) in payments to Choi.

South Korea's president ousted, headed for prosecution