Former South Korean president facing possible life sentence

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The corruption scandal led to Park's impeachment last December, and she was officially removed from office in March.

Park was arrested and confined to a detention facility near Seoul last month on allegations that she colluded with a confidante to extort from businesses and commit other wrongdoings.

In another blow to Lotte Group, whose family members are already standing trial for their involvement in embezzlement, tax evasion and fraud, its chief Shin was indicted for seeking a favor from Park to secure a business license for its duty-free shop by contributing 7 billion won to the K-Sports foundations.

Park reportedly denied all the charges during her five rounds of questioning in jail. Lee, Choi and Samsung Group have also denied wrongdoing.

If convicted of bribery, Park faces 10 years to life in prison - barring a presidential pardon from her successor.

Ko Young-tae, a former associate of former President Park Geun-hye's close friend Choi Soon-sil, appears at a local court in Seoul on April 13, 2017.

Lotte, South Korea's fifth-biggest conglomerate, is grappling with the Chinese shutdown of dozens of its stores in China, after it agreed to provide land for the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system outside Seoul.

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The media outlet specified that prosecutors have been advancing the investigation to finish it before the Monday's launch of the official campaign for the early presidential election slated for the May 9.

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

Park was arrested by South Korean authorities on March 30.

South Korea pardoned two of its convicted former leaders in the late 1990s in a bid for national reconciliation amid a financial crisis, and its court had until recently shown leniency toward corrupt business tycoons because of worries about hurting the economy.

Prosecutors on Monday also charged Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin without detaining him. 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.

Park is the daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, one of the most divisive figures in South Korean history.

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