An appeal court has reportedly increased the prison sentence of Korea’s former president, Park Geun-hye, to 25 years.
A South Korean appeal court has reportedly increased the prison sentence for former President Park Geun-hye to 25 years in a case bordering on the corruption scandal that ended her rule in 2017.
Park became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office when she was removed by the constitutional court over a corruption scandal.
The 66-year-old ex-president was sentenced to 24 years in prison and an 18bn won fine ($16m) by a lower court in April in a ruling that the prosecution appealed.
On Friday, August 24, Aljazeera reports that the Seoul high court found that Park colluded with her friend, Choi Soon-sil, to receive tens of billions of won from major conglomerates to help Choi’s family and fund non-profit foundations owned by her, according to the court documents.
Such unethical dealings between political power and financial power harms the essence of democracy and distorts order in the market economy, giving the people a grave sense of loss and deep distrust of our society,” presiding judge Kim Mun-suk reportedly said in the ruling. “A strict penalty is unavoidable.”
In July, another South Korean court reportedly sentenced Park to eight years in prison in a separate case arising from the same scandal, finding her guilty on charges of causing the loss of government funds and interfering in a 2016 parliamentary election.
Park has been defended by state attorneys after her former defence team quit en masse last year in protest against a Seoul court’s handling of her case, including the extension of her detention. The former president has been in jail since March 31, 2017, but has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She returned to South Korea’s presidential palace in 2012 as the country’s first woman leader more than three decades after she left it following the assassination of her father.
Park is standing trial for alleged bribery, abuse of power and other crimes in a groundbreaking corruption case that marked a stunning fall from grace for the country’s first female leader. The prosecution’s recommendation came two weeks after Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of Park who was at the centre of the scandal, was jailed for 20 years for taking bribes from “chaebol”, or conglomerates, including electronics powerhouse Samsung and retail giant Lotte.