The suicide of a powerful tycoon, corruption allegations, and the looming resignation of a prime minister: This may sound like a Hollywood drama, but it's just the latest headache for South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.
Sung Wan-jong, the former head of construction firm Keangnam Enterprises, killed himself last Thursday and left a note implicating several politicians within the President's ruling Saenuri Party of corruption, including Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo and Park's chief of staff Lee Byung-kee.
PM Lee is accused of accepting 30 million won ($28,000) from Sung, but denied any wrongdoing in a parliament grilling this week.
The scandal comes at an inopportune time for Park, whose administration is still reeling from the Sewol ferry disaster that claimed over 300 lives one year ago this week. Park's popularity levels remain stuck below 40 percent after touching a record low of 29 percent in February, according to Gallup Korea. Moreover, the scandal threatens the Saenuri Party's chances of victory at next year's parliamentary general election.
"Park has issued statements saying she won't accept any corrupt officials in her party, so it seems like she may get the Prime Minister Lee to resign or step down," said Rodger Baker, vice president of Asia-Pacific analysis at Stratfor.
If Lee resigns, he would be the second prime minister to resignation within a year. His predecessor, Chung Hong-won, stepped down last April due to the government's poor response to the Sewol ferry disaster.