South Korea ex-president Park guilty of abuse of power, bribery - court

Apr 07, 2018, 00:36
South Korea ex-president Park guilty of abuse of power, bribery - court

Park was also charged with taking bribes totalling 29.8 billion won from Samsung.

Now 76, Lee has denied wrongdoing and denounced the ongoing investigation as "political revenge".

Park's defense lawyers say they will decide whether to appeal the ruling after confirming her intentions. Park protested about the live broadcast a day ago, but the authorities allowed today's verdict to be broadcast live for extraordinary public interests.

Following the nation-wide protests a year ago, a vote by the National Assembly and a unanimous decision by the Constitutional Court lead to Park's impeachment over helping Choi.

The conviction was shown live - an unprecedented move in the country's history.

The daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, Park Guen-hye took office in 2013 as a conservative leader and projected herself as the daughter of the nation, AFP reported. But he's also remembered for imprisoning and torturing dissidents. She had boycotted most sessions of the trial in protest at being held in custody.

But she is not the only former president to have been arrested for corruption. That led to a presidential election won by the liberal Moon Jae-in, whose conciliatory stand on North Korea has underpinned a significant warming of ties between the rival neighbors.

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Park's friendships with Choi, 61, began in the mid-1970s when Choi's late father served as Park's mentor after her mother's assassination.

But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career.

Park, 66, was convicted of receiving or demanding more than $20 million from conglomerates, sharing secret state documents with Choi, ordering officials to stop offering state subsidies to "blacklisted" artists critical of her policies, and firing officials who resisted her abuses of power.

In April 2014, following the sinking of a ferry that left over 200 people dead or missing, her government's poor handling of the disaster attracted heavy criticism.

The final scandal touched off months of Saturday rallies, during which millions gathered at a Seoul plaza and elsewhere around the country calling for her ouster. Her impeachment was upheld by the Constitutional Court in March 2017. She quickly becomes a heavyweight in conservative politics.

Park's predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, is also facing corruption charges and is accused of a host of crimes ranging from bribery to abuse of power to embezzlement and tax evasion. President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide while being investigated for corruption in 2009.