Friday, March 10, 2017
South Korea's president, Park Geun-hye, has been removed from office
South Korea’s Constitutional Court has voted unanimously to remove the country's president, Park Geun-hye, from office, prompting protests for and against the decision that left two dead from clashes with the police, Reuters reports.
The decision is "final and unchallengable," according to The Korea Herald.
Park is the first South Korean president to be removed from office by the courts. Her successor must be elected within 60 days.
While many took to the streets to cheer the decision, two people died in confrontations between Park's supporters, many of them elderly, and the police during demonstrations opposing the ruling. Six others were injured, according to Reuters.
Park was suspended from official duties in December after being accused of colluding with a friend who is suspected of pressuring companies to donate money in return for government favors.
Both Park and her friend have denied the accusations.
Park faced 13 charges, and citizens of South Korea took part in massive rallies in recent weeks calling for her final impeachment. The political scandal unfolded at a time of increased tensions in South Korea, as North Korea continues to aggressively test missiles and China condemns South Korea's decision to accept US missile-defense batteries.
By far the biggest corporate head on the block in the scandal is the Samsung chief and heir to its $316 billion empire, Jay Y. Lee.
Park was initially impeached in December following allegations she had her friend Choi Soon-sil pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back Park's policy initiatives.
Up to $50 million from Samsung was allegedly paid into entities overseen by Choi in return for help cementing Lee’s control of Samsung.
In a statement detailing the findings of its investigation, the special prosecutor’s office said the National Pension Service voted in favor of a merger of two Samsung Group affiliates in 2015, despite anticipating a $158 million loss.
Lee, with a net worth of $8.2 billion, has been in a jail cell since February 17, but just hours before Park's verdict was handed down, he appeared in court for a preliminary hearing.
Lee denied any wrongdoing.
Read the original article on Business Insider Australia. Copyright 2017. Follow Business Insider Australia on Twitter.