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Prosecutors indict Park ally, 2 ex-aides

SEOUL – South Korean President Park Geun-Hye colluded with her close confidante in a major influence-peddling scandal that has engulfed her government, prosecutors said yesterday, as they laid out charges against the longtime ally and two former presidential aides.

The scandal has sparked nationwide fury, with thousands taking to the streets to call for Park’s resignation, providing a stark challenge to her authority.

‘‘The president played a collusive role in a considerable portion of the criminal activities involving the (three) people,’’ said Lee Young-Ryeol, who is leading a probe into the scandal.

Park’s ally Choi Soon-Sil and one of the president’s former aides were arrested earlier this month on charges of fraud, coercion, and abuse of power. Another presidential aide was arrested for leaking confidential state documents.

Choi, 60, has been accused of using her personal ties with Park to meddle in state affairs and coerce local firms to ‘‘donate’’ millions of dollars to dubious non-profit foundations she then used for personal gain.

Park faces allegations that she helped Choi extract money from the firms and ordered her aides to leak state documents to Choi, who has no official title or security clearance. (AFP)

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