Former South Korean president found guilty of abusing of power

Saturday, 07 Apr, 2018

Korean Culture and Information Service, CC BY-SA 2.0)"The President abused the power which was given to her by the citizens", the judge said.

The court ruled that she had colluded with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure conglomerates such as electronics giant Samsung and retail chain Lotte to give millions of dollars to foundations run by Choi.

Park is expected to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, which could take about a year.

Aside from the 24 years sentence, the court also fined the former President the sum of $17 million.

The court counted 7.3 billion won as bribes she took from Samsung.

Park, 66, has refused to act badly and was not present in court. Additional charges she was convicted for included the leaking of confidential presidential documents to Choi Soon Sil, creating a blacklist of people in the cultural and entertainment industries, and more.

The scandal has already led to the arrests, indictments and convictions of dozens of high-profile government officials and business leaders.

Supporters of former President Park Geun-hye rally in front of the Seoul Central District Court in the capital on Friday.

The liberal-controlled parliament impeaches Park in December. Park protested about the live broadcast a day ago, but the authorities allowed today's verdict to be broadcast live for extraordinary public interests.

Park was removed from office early past year following months of protests.

Major General Park Chung-hee, president from 1961-1979 and father of Park Geun-hye, was ultimately assassinated by his spy chief at a party.

Now 85, Roh also received a presidential pardon and walked free on the same day as Chun in 1997, albeit from a different prison. She has been boycotting the court hearings since last October to protest the proceedings.

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

The scandal exposed what has always been widely suspected in South Korea: the entangled web of government and sprawling business conglomerates that dominate the country's economy.

Her father was killed five years later and Park withdrew for a while but entered the political scene again in the 1990s after witnessing the effects of Asia's economic crisis.

"Despite all these crimes the accused denied all the charges against her, displayed no remorse and showed an incomprehensible attitude by blaming Choi and other". But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career.

According to the reports, Choi, who, had no government experience but was branded in a U.S. diplomatic cable as having "complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years".