Seoul (April 06, 2018): Former president of South Korea Park Geun-hye sentenced 24-year jail over a corruption scandal on Thursday by Seoul Central District Court.
Park was earlier found guilty at the Court of bribery, abuse of power, extortion and other charges. She has been held at a detention centre near Seoul since her arrest in March 2017, but she refused to attend Friday’s court session, citing sickness.
The main charge was that she colluded with a long-time confidante to take tens of millions of dollars from companies in bribes and extortion.
Park was removed from office last year following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the streets calling for her to be ousted.
The conviction, which Park can appeal, is the latest hit in a dramatic fall for South Korea’s first female president.Once seen as the darling of South Korean conservatives, she was dubbed “Queen of Elections” by local media for her track record of leading her party to victory in tight races and still has a small group of fierce supporters who regularly stage rallies calling for her release.
The Seoul court convicted Park of colluding with long-time confidante Choi Soon-sil to pressure 18 business groups to donate a total of 77.4 billion won (£52 million) for the launch of two foundations controlled by Choi.The two women were also convicted of taking bribes from some of those companies, including more than 7 billion won (£4.6 million) alone from Samsung in return for government support for a smooth company leadership transition.