Former S Korea President Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison

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Park was sentenced to 24 years in jail with a fine of 18 billion won (17 million USA dollars).

Younger, liberal voters, who staged months of protests against Park before her ouster, will be hoping the verdict will be a watershed in efforts by the new government to end the self-serving collusion between political leaders and the powerful conglomerates known as chaebol.

Park herself has constantly denied any wrongdoing and protested her extended detention as the trial unfolded.

When the wide-ranging corruption scandal broke previous year it prompted massive street protests against Park across the country. Judge Kim Se-yoon said he had passed a tough sentence to "prevent such an unfortunate event from happening again".

"We can not help but sternly hold her accountable", the judge said.

"A history that is not remembered is bound to be repeated", it read. She didn't attend Friday's verdict, citing a sickness that wasn't specified publicly.

What was she convicted of?

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She was also convicted of forcing companies to sign lucrative deals with firms owned by Choi and donate gifts to Choi and her daughter. Park was also convicted of passing on presidential documents with sensitive information to Choi via one of her presidential aides.

She now has seven days in which to file an appeal.

What led to her downfall?

Park and Choi were childhood friends and Choi swiftly became the leader's most trusted confidante. "Park has denied all charges against her and expressed no remorse or atonement - legally as well as politically - for what's probably the most shocking political scandal in our modern history", Jeong told AFP. Choi is serving a 20-year prison term; Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong was initially sentenced to five years in prison before his sentence was suspended on appeal; and Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin was given two-and-a-half years in prison.

Her conservative predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, who governed from 2008-2013, was arrested and jailed last month over a separate corruption scandal.

Ms Chung has also faced scrutiny, and was extradited from Denmark to South Korea past year to face questioning.

Park's saga is only the latest addition to a long line of scandals involving the country's leaders.

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But she is not the only former president to have been arrested for corruption. Park's presidential predecessor Lee Myung-bak is now in custody as prosecutors investigate multiple corruption charges involving him and his relatives.

Park Chung-hee's successors, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, both ex-army generals, spent time in jail for bribery, treason, munity and other charges after leaving office. Lee's liberal successor Roh Moo-hyum jumped to his death in 2009, amid a corruption investigation of his family.

During her first trial that was televised live on April 6, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Park Geun Hye to 24 years in prison and a fine of 18 billion won (approximately $16.9 million).

The scandal has created greater awareness and criticism of the longstanding close ties between the political elite and chaebols, or family-run conglomerates which dominate South Korea's economy.

Park Geun-hye was removed from office in 2017 as people lined the streets calling for her to be ousted.

But South Koreans are divided on the verdict.

Park is the daughter of a deeply divisive dictator, Park Chung-hee, who is revered by supporters as a hero who spearheaded South Korea's rapid economic rise in the 1960s to the 1970s. Many protesters sat on the pavement in tears while others began a protest march. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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