South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye has been handed an additional 8 years of prison sentence apart from the current 24 years she has begun serving on charges of corruption. These corruption charges had led to her removal from office as President in December 2016.
Seoul Central District Court on Friday found her guilty of causing substantial losses to state coffers by unlawfully receiving about 3 billion won ($2.6 million) from chiefs of the National Intelligence Service during her presidency and sentenced her to six years in prison. The court separately sentenced Park to two years in prison for breaking election laws by meddling in her party candidate’s nomination ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2016.
However, Park did not appear in court for the trial. She has accused the charges of being politically motivated against her that the judiciary and prosecution are biased against her.
In April this year, a court found Park had colluded with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to solicit bribes from South Korean conglomerates including Samsung and the retail company Lotte in exchange for policy favours. Prosecutors charged Park with 18 separate crimes and accused her of working with Choi in taking bribes of at least £25m and pressuring companies to fund nonprofits run by Choi’s family. She was also accused of leaking classified information.
The prosecutions brought to light the longstanding close ties between South Korea's political elite and the chaebols, or family-run conglomerates, which dominate its economy.
Following the earlier ruling in April, prosecutors appealed Park’s 24-year term on charges including bribery and abuse of state power and are now demanding that it be increased to 30 years in prison. The Seoul High Court will rule on the case on August 24.
Park Geun-hye was South Korea’s first female president.