S Korea's ex-president indicted for bribery

The prosecution charged him with abetting or condoning Choi's meddling in state affairs, disrupting a probe into Choi's manipulation of power and exerting undue influence over personnel appointments under the Park administration. The detention house, however, said it was an "inevitable" decision to avoid Park's contact with other inmates, citing security reasons.

Prosecutors allege Park colluded with Choi to make Lotte's Shin give 7 billion won ($6.2 million) in bribes to a foundation Choi had set up.

Ms Park was formally arrested on 31 March over the allegations, with prosecutors expected to release formal charges against her next week.

She will have to face judges in prison garb and bound with rope, and the bribery charge could mean life imprisonment. South Korean prosecutors on Monday, April 17 indicted Park on high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life. Park, in particular, has been charged with forcing major corporations, including Samsung, to donate to foundations controlled by Choi and taking bribes, as well as with forcing companies to sign contracts beneficial for Choi and her associates. The heir to Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, has already been indicted and is awaiting a separate criminal trial over charges that Ms Park was given bribes in exchange for government backing of a 2015 merger.

She underwent a marathon 21-hour interrogation last month and was arrested soon after.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office also filed charges against ex-presidential aide Woo Byung-woo and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin - both without physical detention - over allegations tied to Park's case.

Former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, has been indicted.

South Korea's biggest conglomerate has already been drawn into the inquiry.

Park is the daughter of the former military dictator Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a coup in 1961 and ruled South Korea with martial law until his assassination in 1979. It is unclear if the trial will be under way before 9 May when a special election will be held to determine her successor.

Park Geun-hye once described Choi, 60, as someone who helped her when she had difficulties in the past, an apparent reference to her parents' deaths.

  • Elsie Buchanan