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Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye Is Arrested

Park Geun-hyeOusted South Korean president Park
POOL/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Park Geun-hye, the former president of South Korea, has been arrested. She was taken into custody early Friday morning in Korea after lengthy presentations to a court by prosecutors.

Park was removed from office in December by lawmakers. A court upheld her impeachment last month, removing her presidential immunity from prosecution. She is to be charged with crimes including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. The court ruled that Park represents a flight risk and said she should be detained.

Park denies the charges against her, many of which stem from her relationship with Choi Soon-sil, a friend and close confidante who is accused of using her connections and knowledge to extort vast sums of money from businesses in Korea. Those accused of paying bribes to foundations controlled by Choi include Lee Jae-yong, the de facto boss of electronics giant Samsung. Lee is also currently under arrest and denies the charges against him.

Other charges against Park relate to the compiling of a blacklist of some 9,000 cultural industry figures who did not support her politics. Those on the blacklist were to be denied funding from state organizations such as the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). Park is alleged to have pressured and fired cultural industry officials who resisted the blacklist.

Former presidential aide Kim Ki-choon and former minister of culture Cho Yoon-sun have also been arrested. Both deny the charges.