March 10, 2017 / 5:01 AM / 5 months ago

Factbox - Key figures in South Korea graft scandal

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday, removing her from office over a graft scandal involving big business that has gripped the country for months.

Following are some details about the main figures in the graft scandal and the accusations they face.

PARK GEUN-HYE, 65

Former president of South Korea

Accused of violating constitutional duty as president.

Special prosecutors said on March 6 that Park colluded with her friend, Choi Soon-sil, to take bribes from the Samsung Group aimed at cementing Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee's control of the conglomerate, and was instrumental in blacklisting more than 9,000 artists, authors and movie industry professionals and excluding them from government assistance.

South Korean law does not allow a sitting president to be indicted unless the charge is treason. No formal charge has been brought against Park. After the court's ruling removing her from office, she has lost immunity from prosecution.

She has denied wrongdoing.

CHOI SOON-SIL, 60

Park's confidante of about 40 years

Charged with receiving bribes, hiding proceeds of a crime, influence-peddling and abuse of authority to hinder the exercise of others' rights

Special prosecutors said on March 6 that Choi colluded with Park to take bribes from South Korea's biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group [SAGR.UL], aimed at cementing the control of the group of its chief, Jay Y. Lee.

She has denied wrongdoing.

She has been detained and is on trial.

JAY Y. LEE, 48

Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) vice chairman and de facto leader of the Samsung Group.

Charged with bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, hiding proceeds of a crime, perjury

Special prosecutors said on March 6 that Lee pledged 43 billion won ($37.19 million) in return for support from Park and Choi for a variety of steps, including a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 and the 2016 domestic listing of a loss-making drug maker Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd (207940.KS) .

Lee and Samsung have denied wrongdoing.

Detained and on trial

CHOI GEE-SUNG, 66

Former Samsung Group vice chairman.

Charged with bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, hiding proceeds of a crime

Special prosecutors said on March 6 that Choi also participated in Lee's pledging of 43 billion won in return for support from Park and Choi for a variety of steps, including a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 and the 2016 domestic listing of a loss-making drug maker Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd

He has denied wrongdoing

Not detained but on trial

MOON HYUNG-PYO, 61

Former minister of health, former National Pension Service chairman.

Charged with abuse of authority to hinder the exercise of others' rights, perjury.

Special prosecutors said on March 6 that during Moon's tenure as chairman in 2015, the National Pension Service voted in favour of a merger of two Samsung Group affiliates, despite anticipating a 138.8 billion won ($119.87 million) loss.

Denied wrongdoing.

Detained and on trial

KIM KI-CHOON, 77

Park's former chief of staff

Charged with abuse of authority to hinder the exercise of others' rights, coercion, perjury

Special prosecutors said on March 6 that Kim colluded with Park, Choi and others to blacklist more artists, authors and movie industry professionals and exclude them from government assistance.

He has denied wrongdoing.

Detained

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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