Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

D-day for former South Korean President

D-day for former South Korean President

The verdict, broadcast live on South Korean television, represents "the culmination of a scandal which rocked the country, fuelling rage against political and business elites", the BBC reports. The sentencing was to follow.

The former president has been held at a detention center near Seoul since she was arrested in March 2017.

Prosecutors accused Park of colluding with Choi to receive 7 billion won from Lotte Group for favours, while pressuring big businesses to bankroll non-profit foundations run by Choi's family and confidants.

Park became South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office a year ago when the Constitutional Court ordered her out over a scandal that landed the heads of two conglomerates in jail.

Park, who became South Korea's first female president in 2013, was impeached for corruption after weeks of demonstrations calling for her to step down.

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.

The first major challenge of her presidency came in 2014 when the Sewol ferry sunk, killing more than 300.

The judge said that Park's lawyers have one week to appeal the sentence.

'I sentence the accused to 24 years in prison and 18 billion won in fines'.

Choi received a 20-year jail sentence.

Park was convicted of taking bribes, in collusion with Choi, from Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the heir apparent and only son to Chairman Lee Kun-hee, to fund the equestrian training of Choi's daughter. They picketed and hung banners printed with her face, claiming her innocence and protesting what they call a politically motivated investigation.

Millions of South Koreans took to the streets previous year demanding the end of Park's government, and they succeeded in having her impeached.

Most South Korean presidents of recent decades have had their retirements interrupted - or terminated - by legal troubles.

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

The scandal brought demonstrators out to the streets in their thousands, resulting in her impeachment and arrest last March.

The 66-year-old denied all 18 corruption-related charges.

Supporters of former President Park Geun-hye wave the national flag in front of the Seoul Central District Court, before Park's sentencing trial, held in the afternoon of April 6, 2018.

Like this: