Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye was on Monday charged with bribery involving millions of dollars over the massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought her down.
Park, whose impeachment was confirmed by Seoul's top court last month, is at the center of a sprawling graft investigation, which has also implicated top businessmen and brought millions of people onto the streets, AFP reported.
The former leader, already detained at a center near Seoul, also faces charges of abusing her power and leaking state secrets, Seoul prosecutors probing the scandal said in a statement.
"We have formally charged Park ... with multiple offences including abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking state secrets," they said after wrapping up the months-long investigation.
Park is accused of colluding with her confidante at the heart of the scandal, Choi Soon-sil, who is already on trial for coercing local conglomerates into donating a total of 77.4 billion won ($68 million) to two non-profit foundations.
Choi allegedly used some of the donations for personal gain.
Park is also accused of offering policy favors to top businessmen who enriched Choi, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong who was arrested earlier and is also on trial for bribery.
Prosecutors on Monday also charged Shin Dong-Bin, the chairman of the retail giant Lotte Group, with bribing Choi and Park.
Shin allegedly offered seven billion won ($6.15 million) to a sports foundation linked with Choi in exchange for a policy favor from Park over Lotte's duty-free business.
Park, 65-year-old, daughter of the late former dictator Park Chung-Hee, spent nearly two decades living in Seoul's sprawling presidential palace, before the allegations of corruption engulfed her presidency late last year.
The scandal sent her once-bulletproof approval ratings to record lows with millions taking to the streets for months calling for her ouster, though she also had a loyal following from groups of mainly older rival protesters.
Her father is widely revered by aged, conservative South Koreans who benefited from the rapid economic growth under his iron-fisted rule from 1961 to 1979, said AFP.
Official campaigning began Monday for next month's South Korean presidential election to choose a successor to Park, with the election heavily tilted toward candidates from liberal parties following a corruption and cronyism scandal linked to Park, Kyodo News reported.
A total of 15 candidates, a record number, are running for the presidency in the May 9 election. The two front-runners are Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea, which has the most seats in parliament, and Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party, the country's third-largest party.