Leadership infamy in the spotlight

Why South Korea's presidents often get into graft scandals

A long history of authoritarian rule and a culture where the powerful are expected to share influence with family and friends pave the way for 'imperial' presidents. But it is set to change as people grow sick of corruption.

Lee Myung Bak, who served as president from 2008 to 2013, leaving the prosecutors' office in Seoul last month after an interrogation. He was indicted this month for bribery, embezzlement and other charges. Park Geun Hye, who served as president from
Lee Myung Bak, who served as president from 2008 to 2013, leaving the prosecutors' office in Seoul last month after an interrogation. He was indicted this month for bribery, embezzlement and other charges. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS

SEOUL • They were once the most powerful people in South Korea.

But now, former presidents Lee Myung Bak and Park Geun Hye have become jailbirds of the same feather.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 22, 2018, with the headline 'Why S. Korea's presidents often get into graft scandals'. Subscribe