South Korea's Former Leader Gets 24 Year Sentence

South Korea's Former Leader Gets 24 Year Sentence

World Update

The verdict was broadcast live and represents the culmination of a scandal which rocked the country, fuelling rage against political and business elites. Also: UK sugar tax; Studio Ghibli co-founder dies

In 2016, South Korea saw the start of a massive corruption scandal involving its political and business elite that brought down its first female president Park Geun-hye.

The scandal, which continues to ripple through South Korean society, generated huge protests.

It has centred on Park's relationship with an old friend, Choi Soon-sil, and has brought to the surface allegations of cult activities, influence-peddling and leaks of classified information.

What is the relationship at the heart of the scandal?

In 1974, Park Geun-hye's mother was killed by a North Korean assassin.

Park, then aged 22, became a stand-in first lady for her widowed father, then-military leader Park Chung-hee.

A Seoul court sentenced former S. Korean president Park Geun-hye to 24 years in jail and fined her 18 billion won (17 million US dollars) on corruption charges on Friday. The decision marks the final act in her fall from grace.

South Korea's Former Leader Gets 24 Year Sentence

Their critics believe Choi perpetuated her father's habits, and some media reports suggested that Ms Park held shamanist rituals at the presidential compound under Choi's influence, which Park denied.

The friendship behind South Korea's presidential crisis

Why did the friendship become problematic?

In February 2018, Choi was sentenced to 20 years in jail for corruption, influence-peddling and abuse of power. She was earlier found guilty of using her position to solicit favours for her daughter.

Choi was found to have had used her presidential connections to pressure conglomerates - including electronics giant Samsung - for millions of dollars in donations to two non-profit foundations she controlled.

Park meanwhile has been accused of colluding with Choi, and giving her unauthorised access to state documents.


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