Former South Korean president Park jailed 24 years for corruption
07 April, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Julian Harrison
The court said Park received bribes worth 7.2 billion won from Samsung Group, though it can not determine how much she kept for herself. She didn't attend Friday's verdict, citing a sickness that wasn't specified publicly.
"The defendant abused her presidential power entrusted by the people, and as a result brought massive chaos to the order of state affairs and led to the impeachment of the president, which was unprecedented", he said.
Announcing the verdict on Friday, Judge Kim Se Yoon, ruled that major conglomerates including Samsung and Lotte had been forced to donate a total of £68million to Ms Choi's non-profit foundations.
Along with the prisonsentence, Park was also fined 18 billion won ($16.8 million), Kim said.
Park was sentenced to 24 years in prison and received a $16.9 million fine. Similar charges were laid against Choi, while Samsung Samsung Group chief Lee Jae Yong and Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong Bin were charged with bribing Choi.
Park also colluded with her friend Choi to help her daughter get financial support from Samsung Electronics Co for her equestrian training, the court said.
Park, 66, became a focal point of discussion after the scandal during her tenure between 2013-17 rocked the East Asian nation.
The sentence handed down by a panel of three judges at the Seoul Central District Court was more lenient than the 30 years sought by prosecutors. They waved South Korean and US flags and held signs that read, among other things, "Stop murderous political revenge!" Her electoral base remembers the time when her father, who is often called a dictator, ruled the country as a period of strength.
Park was dismissed in March past year when the Constitutional Court upheld her impeachment.
Outside the court a supporter of the former president reacted to the leader's sentence
Jung Yeon-je AFP
Experts said the verdict was as expected and was in line with other verdicts in one of the biggest corruption scandals to have hit South Korea.
According to the reports, Choi, who, had no government experience but was branded in a USA diplomatic cable as having "complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years".
"Given her attitude and public anger over her scandal that remains raw, it will be hard to create a political environment in favour of her release any time soon", Jeong told AFP.
Choi, who was at the center of the corruption scandal, was sentenced in February to 20 years in prison. She has previously maintained her innocence.
Park's four years in office were marred by rising animosity with rival North Korea over its advancing nuclear program, a 2014 ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people, mostly teenagers on a school trip, and criticism that she curbed free speech and didn't manage things transparently.
Surprising enough, Moon's office said Park's fate was disheartening not only for herself but the nation.
The predecessor of Park, Lee Myung-bak also like Park is accused bribery and abuse of power.
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