Geun-hye Park, South Korea’s first female president, was sentenced to 24 years in prison after being found guilty of crimes ranging from bribery to coercion, abuse of power and the leaking of state secrets.
The sentence handed down by a panel of three judges at the Seoul Central District Court was more lenient than the 30 years sought by prosecutors. Park can appeal to a higher court.
Park, 66, who was impeached last year over an influence peddling scandal that led to protests by hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of the capital, didn’t show up at court. She denied most of the allegations, head judge Kim Se-yoon said.
The judges concluded that Park colluded with Soon-sil Choi, a longtime friend who has never held a government position, and former aides to seek favors from leaders of the nation’s business conglomerates, known in Korean as chaebol.
The court accepted the prosecutors’ argument that she pressured top executives to donate tens of millions of dollars to foundations run by Choi in return for government favors. Park also colluded with her friend Choi to help her daughter get financial support from Samsung Electronics Co. for her equestrian training, the court said.