Prosecutors have pressed charges against Cho Won-dong, a former senior aide to President Park Geun-hye. Park has been impeached following a corruption investigation against her.
Cho Won-dong, a former senior presidential secretary for economic affairs under President Park, has been charged by prosecutors, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Sunday. Cho was indicted for allegedly working with Park in an attempt to force the CEO of a Seoul-based conglomerate to quit.
Prosecutors also said they indicted Kim Chong, a former vice culture minister, on charges of working together with Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of President Park, is accused of colluding with officials to extort money and favors from some of South Korea's biggest companies. Lawyers said Kim and Choi forced companies to donate large sums of money to a sports agency run by Choi's niece.
The opposition passed a motion to impeach Park on Friday, stripping her of the post of president. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has been asked to serve as the caretaker head of government for the time being until South Korea's Constitutional Court decides whether Park must step down permanently. The court has 180 days to give its verdict on the matter.
Park was asked to resign after millions of people demanded her removal following allegations that she colluded with Choi Soon-sil. The president has apologized for collaborating with her friend, but denied she did anything wrong.
Meanwhile, South Korea's finance minister warned on Sunday that the country could face economic problems if the corruption scandal tainted commercial sentiments. "Amid so much global uncertainty, this political situation is further weighing on the economy and a downturn in sentiment could be another problem, " Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said.
mg/jlw (Reuters, AP)