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Samsung ushers in policy changes following government bribery scandal

South Koreans light a candle during a rally against South Korean President Park Geun Hye on a main street in Seoul South Korea on March 1

South Korea's impeached President Park Geun Hye was reaffirmed as a suspected accomplice to alleged bribery and abuse of power on Monday, as a special prosecution team investigating a corruption scandal announced its findings.

South Korea's President Park Geun-hye colluded with her friend Choi Soon-sil to receive bribes from Samsung Group aimed at cementing Samsung Chief Jay Y. Lee's control of the company, a special prosecutor said in a statement on Monday (March 6). The president is now awaiting a decision on whether she will be removed from office, with the ruling expected Friday or early next week.

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A number of former presidential advisors and cabinet members have been arrested or charged for their involvements in the scandal, including allegedly leaking secret state documents to Choi at Park's order.

South Korea's parliament impeached Park in December over accusations that she had colluded with her long-time friend Choi to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back the president's policy initiatives.

The independent counsel team, which launched its probe on December 21, ended its 90-day probe on February 28 as Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is serving as the acting president following Park's impeachment, rejected an extended investigation.

Chief Jay Y. Lee will go on trial for embezzlement and bribery on Thursday while in the middle of a corruption scandal that has made worldwide headlines.

"We had to finalize our indictments of figures including Lee Jae-yong and Choi Soon-sil and prepare documents to be handed over to the state prosecution".

"The law on the independent counsel was recommended exclusively by the Democratic Party and the People's Party, giving special favors to certain factions", her lawyer Lee Kyung-jae said. They will now hand over their investigation records to state prosecutors, who will be in charge of tying up the remaining threads in the wide-ranging case.

Should it uphold the impeachment, Park would become the country's first democratically elected president to be thrown out of office and spark an election in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The special prosecutor also said the president was instrumental in blacklisting more than 9,000 artists, authors and movie industry professionals and excluding them from government assistance that constituted an abuse of power. Lee, 48, faces trial Thursday on charges that could bring a 20-year prison sentence.