World

Court: Park 'abused power for Choi's gain'

SEOUL: South Korea's Park Geun Hye was brought down by a corruption scandal centred on her confidante Choi Soon Sil, who is on trial for using her ties to Ms Park to force companies to "donate" millions to non-profit foundations Choi controlled.

Park has been named as Choi's accomplice. She was impeached by Parliament on 13 separate grounds.

Here are the court's main conclusions:

1. From 2013 to last year, an aide to Park handed Choi secret documents over senior nominations, cabinet and diplomatic meetings, and overseas state visits under "Park's orders or negligence", the court said.

Choi often issued directions over the drafts or revised them, even recommending acquaintances for senior positions who later helped her seek benefits from state projects.

2. Local media reports have described Choi, who has never held a title or security clearance, as a "shadow president".

"The accused (Park)... impaired the principle of representative democracy and the rule of law," the court said.

3. Park for years concealed Choi's presence, and cracked down on journalists or lawmakers who tried to make public her influence, "rendering the system of checks and balances ineffective", the court found.

"The accused abused her presidential power for Choi's personal gain... in violation of the Constitution, laws on public servants and ethical codes on public servants," the court said.

4. Park forcedtop firms, including Samsung, to donate money to the Choi-controlled foundations. - AFP

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