South Korean ex-president Park Geun-hye jailed for 24 years

Apr 07, 2018, 07:42 IST | Agencies

The verdict was broadcast live and represents the culmination of an explosive corruption scandal

Park becomes the third former S Korean leader to be convicted on criminal charges; several people protested the decision. Pics/AFP
Park becomes the third former S Korean leader to be convicted on criminal charges; several people protested the decision. Pics/AFP

South Korea's disgraced former president Park Geun-hye has been jailed for 24 years for corruption, closing out a dramatic fall from grace for the country's first woman leader who became a figure of public fury and ridicule. The sentence followed a trial lasting more than 10 months, which ended with Park being found guilty on multiple criminal charges, including bribery and abuse of power.

Representation pic

"The amount of bribery the accused received or demanded in collaboration with Choi amounts to more than 23 billion won [Rs 139 crore]," Judge Kim Se-Yoon said, referring to Parks secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil. "I sentence the accused to 24 years in prison and 18 billion [R109cr] won in fines."

Park, 66, had boycotted most of the trial in protest at being held in custody. She was not present in court for the judgment which, in a rare move, was broadcast live on television. The daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, Park took office in 2013 as a conservative icon who cast herself in the role of daughter of the nation - incorruptible and beholden to none.

Less than four years later, she was impeached, stripped of all her powers and ousted from office on the back of mass protests that brought millions onto the streets of Seoul and other cities. The trigger was a snowballing graft scandal involving Park and Choi and accusations of graft, influence-peddling and taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for policy favours.

Much of the public anger was focused on Parks relationship with Choi and accusations that she let her childhood friend - who held no formal position - meddle in state affairs. Choi is the daughter of a shadowy religious figure who had served as a mentor to Park for decades until his death in 1994. She was tried separately and sentenced in February to 20 years in prison.

Condemned for her "Rasputin-like" influence over Park, Choi was convicted of using her presidential ties to squeeze millions of dollars out of major South Korean businesses, including Samsung - the world's top smartphone maker - and retail giant Lotte.

Rs 109 cr
Fine imposed on Park Geun-hye

18
No. of cases in which Park was charged

Rs 139 cr
Bribe the ex-president allegedly accepted

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