After a televised trial, former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 24 years jail and fined 18 billion won ($16.9 million). She was found guilty on 16 charges of corruption involving bribery, coercion, and abuse of power, according to The Korean Times.
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Park was South Korea’s first female head of state and the first elected leader to be ousted when she was impeached last year.
In 2016, allegations around Park and her long-time confidante Choi Soon-sil first arose when Choi was accused of using her friendship to pressure some of South Korea’s biggest companies to contribute money to non-profit foundations she ran, in exchange for securing favourable treatment from the government.
According to The Korean Times, companies involved in the scandal included Hyundai Motor, Samsung, Lotte Group, telecom company KT and steelmaker POSCO.
Park is the daughter of former controversial president Park Chung-hee while Choi is the daughter of quasi-religious figure Choi Tae-min. In February, Choi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption, influence-peddling and abuse of power.
CNN reported that Park did not attend the trial due to sickness, and said her lawyers intend to appeal the court’s decision.
On April 9, another former South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, was indicted on corruption charges including, bribery and embezzlement in a separate scandal.
State prosecutors say Lee, president from 2008 to 2013, took bribes totalling 11 billion won ($10 million) from a government spy agency and embezzled 35 billion won ($33 million) from a private company he owned. Lee has been detained in a Seoul since his arrest last month.
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Questions we’d like to explore
Do you trust your political leaders?
Can you tell us about the extent of any political corruption where you live?
Is this reflective of a bigger issue in the trust of government?