SEOUL, April 6. /TASS/. South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in prison and a 18 bln won (about $ 17.5 mln) fine over 16 criminal charges, according to a verdict released by Seoul Central District Court on Friday.
The court supported most part of charges placed against Park Geun-hye, including divulgence of state secrets, extortion, bribery and abuse of power.
It was the first time in South Korea’s history a verdict was released on TV live, despite the defenders’ protests. Park Geun-hye herself refused to attend the court’s final hearing. Her lawyers have the right to appeal against the decision to a supreme court within a week.
A political scandal over the country’s former leader broke out in October 2016, when information that she was influenced by a close friend, Choi Soon-sil, emerged in the press. An investigation revealed that the latter was familiar with the details of state administration and intervened in the high-level decision-making process for decades. The ex-president’s friend also influenced a number of major companies to make them transfer tens of millions of dollars to funds controlled by her.
Park Geun-hye was stated to have been involved in Choi Soon-sil’s corruption schemes or at least aware of them. In early 2017, Park Geun-hye was removed from office following her impeachment.
In February 2018, the court recognized Choi Soon-sil guilty of corruption, extortion and abuse of power and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. She has to pay a $ 16.6 mln fine.