K-pop video director Cha Eun-taek charged in South Korea corruption scandal

Source: BBC

A pop music video director in South Korea has been charged in a corruption scandal that threatens to engulf the country’s president, Park Geun-Hye.

Cha Eun-taek will stand trial for allegedly using his ties to the president’s confidante to win lucrative projects.

The charges include abuse of power, coercion and embezzlement.

Mr Cha, 46, has worked with Gangnam Style star Psy, and South Korean boy band megastars Big Bang.

His involvement in the scandal hinges around his links to Choi Soon-sil, Ms Park’s close friend and the daughter of a cult leader, who is believed to have used her status to extract more than £48m ($60m) from top firms, including Samsung.

She is accused of meddling in a wide range of state affairs, including South Korea’s preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Prosecutors say Ms Park herself ordered her former economic adviser to help Mr Cha pressure companies and officials so he would win contracts.

South Korea’s government has for years used K-pop artists – as South Korean pop starts are known – as a means of exporting the country’s pop culture.

People attend a protest calling for Park Geun-hye to step down on a road leading to the Presidential Blue House in Central Seoul, South Korea, on 26 November, 2016Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionAcross South Korea, peaceful protesters are calling for President Park Geun-Hye to step down
Thousands of South Koreans take to the streets in the city centre to demand President Park Geun-Hye steps down on 26 November, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.Image copyrightJEON HEON-KYUN-POOL/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionPolice say hundreds of thousands took part in a protest on 26 November, while organisers put the figure at 1.5 million

Ms Park, whose approval rating has dropped to 4%, apologised earlier this month for putting “too much faith in a personal relationship”, and has pledged to co-operate with an official investigation into the corruption.

South Korea’s constitution does not allow a sitting president to be prosecuted, and Ms Park has 15 months left in her term.

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