Lawyer of ex-President Park hints at appeal

07 April, 2018, 00:47 | Author: Simon Thompson
  • JUST IN: Ex-president sentenced to 24 years in Jail

Park is a daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea from 1961-1979. The harshness of the sentence is likely to deepen divisions in a country still wrestling with the aftermath of the most serious political turmoil in years.

The disgraceful downfall of the country's first female president is an end with which many former South Korean presidents are very familiar. She has boycotted the proceedings since October.

The panel of judges at the Seoul Central District Court found Park guilty of crimes including bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.

"Park abused the power given to her by the people of the country and conspired with Choi to demand bribes from companies and meddle in their business decisions", Kim 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.

She was sentenced to 24 years in prison and a fine of $16m on charges of bribery, extortion and influence-peddling in a court ruling on Friday.

Park was also ordered to pay a fine of 18 billion won ($17 million).

Jeon Du-hwan, who received the death penalty, and Roh Tae-woo, who got a 20-year jail term, spent only two years each in prison. They waved South Korean and USA flags and held signs that read, among other things, "Stop murderous political revenge!"

"We see the ruling fit for what Park has committed using her power to violate the rule of the country and its constitutional order", read the statement issued by the DPK.

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Many protesters sat or lay in the road crying, while others formed a protest rally calling for her release.

Park's sentencing has drawn a line under what has been one of the biggest corruption scandals to rock South Korea in recent years. But he's also remembered for imprisoning and torturing dissidents.

1998: After years of avoiding the public eye, Park enters politics and wins a parliamentary seat amid public nostalgia for her father as the country struggled with a financial crisis.

But she is not the only former president to have been arrested for corruption.

The liberal Democratic Party's Moon Jae-in swept to power in the presidential election last May, with 41% of the vote, while the candidate from Park's Liberty Korea Party lagged behind with 24%. But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career. Choi had no official title and no security clearance, but saw Park much more frequently than the president's own staff.

May 2017: Park's rival, Moon, wins a presidential by-election.

In December 2016 Park was impeached by Parliament over a massive corruption scandal.

Her conservative predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, who governed from 2008-2013, was arrested and jailed last month over a separate corruption scandal.

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