Authorities arrested former South Korean president Park Geun-hye on corruption charges on Friday, prompting some to draw parallels with the Clinton Foundation.
Elected in 2013, Park was the first female leader of the country. By a vote of 234 to 56, Korean parliamentary lawmakers impeached her on December 9, 2016, and the country’s Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment action on March 10 of this year, thereby removing her from office. Park was also the first popularly elected head of state in East Asia.
Prosecutors obtained a warrant for her arrest from Seoul Central District Court. Charges include abuse of power, accepting bribes, and leaking confidential information, CNN reported. The presiding judge determined that the arrest was necessary to prevent Park from possibly leaving the country or tampering with evidence.
“The scandal dominated the headlines in South Korea and prompted mass protests when it emerged late last year,” CNN added.
Park could face up to 10 years-to-life in prison if convicted on the charges. Under South Korean law, someone can be detained for up to 20 days while officials prepare a formal indictment.
Reuters explains that certain foundations that the ex-president allegedly set up are playing a role in the scandal.
“In a dramatic fall from power, Park, 65, became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be thrown out of office. She is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure big businesses to contribute funds to foundations that backed her policy initiatives. She and Choi, who is already in custody and on trial, deny any wrongdoing.”
The country will go to the polls on May 9 to elect a new president in an attempt to restore stability to the government. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is serving as acting president in the meantime.
Korea Times further expounded on the foundations involved.
“Prosecutors suspect Park colluded with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to force dozens of local conglomerates to ‘donate’ a total of 77.4 billion won ($70 million) to two dubious foundations — Mir and K-Sports — allegedly controlled by Choi. Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was arrested for giving or promising some 43.4 billion won to Choi, and in effect to Park, as kickbacks in return for business favors. Of the total, 20.4 billion won went to the two foundations.”
Clinton foes have accused the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, while serving as U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama administration, of granting favorable treatment to foreign countries and multinational corporations in exchange for large cash donations to the Clinton Foundation. While much of the U.S. media is now focused on probes into Russia’s alleged meddling in the election, an investigation into the Clinton Foundation is apparently still ongoing.
“Park’s scandal bears a striking resemblance to the investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative, which was found to have accepted millions of dollars in donations as a gateway fee for political access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” the Daily Caller asserted.
Park Geun-hye is currently being held in a small cell at the Seoul Detention Center, which accounts for a significant change of scenery and lifestyle. She has spent much of her life in the fancy Blue House presidential palace. Her father, military general Park Chung-hee, was president from 1963 to 1979 after seizing power in a military coup in 1961. He was assassinated in October, 1979. According to the New York Times, she “lives alone in a cell, eating $1.30 meals, washing her own tray and sleeping on a foldable mattress on the floor.”
[Featured Image by Ahn Young-joon/AP Images]