The allegations involving South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her friend of 40 years, Choi Soon-Sil, has all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned scandal in the country. But things are nonetheless not looking good for the president.
The plotline is mundane: Choi allegedly extorted US$69 million from South Korean conglomerates (known as chaebol), including Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Lotte, and others, for personal use – in the form of donations to two foundations she controlled.
If this is true, it has certainly happened before. The practice of extracting slush funds from chaebol is called rent-sharing.
In the past, it has involved companies paying large amounts of money to the president to obtain monopoly rights, gain access to government capital, garner patents, avoid sanctions or punishments, and secure tax reductions.… Seguir leyendo »