Fidelity bank card banner Camano banner

Impeached South Korean President to spend 24 years in prison for alleged abuse of power, coercion and bribery

By Brian Padden on 06/04/2018

Views: 764

•Impeached and convicted former South Korean President Park Geun-hye
•Impeached and convicted former South Korean President Park Geun-hye

Impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been convicted and sentenced to more than two decades in prison for abuse of power, coercion and bribery, at the conclusion of her criminal trial related to the corruption scandal that forced her from office.

Chief Judge Kim Se-yoon announced the verdict and sentencing at the Seoul Central District Court Friday during the final session of the trial, which was broadcast live on television.

“It is the decision of the court that the defendant Park Guen-hye is sentenced to 24 years in prison and must pay a fine of 18 billion Korean won (approximately $17 million dollars,)” Chief Judge Kim said.

The former president did not attend the proceedings, and the defense objected that the live broadcast would make it difficult for her to receive a fair appeal trial in the future. The judge said the people’s right to know in a democratic society outweighed the defendant’s objections.

The 24-year sentence is less than the 30-year jail term that prosecutors had called for.

Indirect coercion

Park became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office last year after the Constitutional Court endorsed the impeachment vote passed by the National Assembly with more than the two-thirds majority support required.

Both the impeachment and criminal charges stem from allegations that the former conservative leader colluded with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, to force large Korean conglomerates like Samsung to contribute millions of dollars to two nonprofit organizations controlled by Choi.

Chief Judge Kim detailed how Park worked indirectly with Choi to use the power of the presidency to intimidate large corporations into making donations for their favored projects, with the implied promise of favorable government treatment in the future, and the threat of retaliation if they did not cooperate.

“Seen from this case, these people like the president or the chief economic secretary have enormous power, such as (granting) various approvals and (initiating) tax investigations that can have a profound impact on the company’s existence and activities in general,” Kim said.

In February, Choi was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 20 years in prison for her part in the scandal.

The chairman of the Lotte Group, the country’s fifth-largest conglomerate, Shin Dong-bin, was jailed for two years and six months for bribery.

Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee was jailed for a similar term on charges of bribery and embezzlement, but in a surprise decision in February, an appeals court freed him after a year in detention.

Political persecution

Park apologised at her trial for seeking help from Choi, but claims she is innocent of all charges and never used the presidency for her own financial benefit.

The judge, however, said Park elicited bribes totaling more than $20 million. Even if she did not directly receive the money, the judge said, she still used her power and influence to benefit Choi and surrogates, and that much of the money raised for the nonprofit organisations were structured so that it could be liquidated at a later time.

Much of the indirect evidence against the former president was based on statements to the prosecution by corporate chairmen who met privately with the president, and on notes kept by former presidential secretary Ahn Jong-beom.

Legal experts question the strength of the prosecution’s case, which they say failed to produce clear evidence linking Park to any political payoffs. Some critics say Friday’s verdict reflects a disturbing trend in South Korea’s democracy, in which former political leaders increasingly face legal persecution when opposition parties gain power.

“I think the rule of law lost its balance in Korean society. It is faltering. It seems to me that the justice of law has disappeared, and the atmosphere of political repression seems to fill the court,” said Lee In-ho, a professor of law at Chung-Ang University in Seoul.

Park’s conservative predecessor, former President Lee Myung-bak, is also being investigated for corruption.

Culture change

Before her impeachment, Park’s public approval rating dropped to below 10 percent and she remains a divisive figure in the country.

The presidential influence peddling scandal triggered weeks of massive public protests across the country, with outraged liberal opposition leaders demanding more accountability and transparency from their elected leaders, and an end to the corrupting corporate influence on the political system.

Liberal leader Moon Jae-in easily won a special presidential election in May 2017, based in part on his promise to reform what he called “the culture of the authoritarian president.” Moon has said he would end the use of presidential pardons for corrupt corporate executives, as was done in the past. He is also proposing constitutional changes replacing the single five-year presidential term to allow a president to run for two consecutive four-year terms, and to distribute some presidential power to the prime minister selected by the National Assembly.

Kim Hyung-a, a Korean politics professor with The Australian National University, wrote in an East Asian Forum Blog that older Koreans in particular worry that Moon’s proposed constitutional amendment will make it more difficult for conservative opponents to regain power.

“They suspect the bill may merely pretend to eliminate the authoritarian president culture and will actually inflate Moon’s own presidential power by expanding the power of the Blue House,” Kim wrote.

President Moon has also enjoyed strong public support for his outreach to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and efforts to facilitate denuclearisation talks with U.S. President Donald Trump. (VOA)

Source News Express

Posted 06/04/2018 6:36:09 PM





You may also like...
How Shiites attacked and attempted to kill Chief...

RIGHTSView: Adoke and the Triumph of Justice

Ortom blows hot, condemns Miyetti Allah’s latest order...

Peace Corps: National Commandant alleges conspiracy •Reps summon...

Bayelsa Govt. to borrow N20bn to complete projects...

US worries over Huawei and ZTE, other China-based...

Nigerian Police nabs Italian kidnapper

3 dead as irate youths burn senator’s house...

Elections: Sultan salutes Buhari, others

Ikpeazu dares INEC, says ‘I remain Abia Governor’...

2019 Elections: Tribunal adjourns hearing of Atiku, PDP’s...

Emefiele appears before Senate, says road to economic...


Latest News APC challenges Wadume over alleged N13m campaign fund for 2019 elections Attack on Ekweremadu: German detectives zero in on 5 suspects Soyinka warns against clampdown on protesters Gunmen kidnap 7 in Kaduna, including official of anti-graft agency Herdsmen: Enugu Govt. orders autopsy on murdered woman as Ohanaeze reacts Security operatives, vigilantes raid suspected cult leader’s home, recover arms, human skulls Attack on Ekweremadu, a warning to Ndigbo leadership — Charly Boy Why Germany should not extradite Ekweremadu’s attackers: HURIWA FG to build 4 million houses by 2023 — Minister Ogun to demolish houses harbouring kidnappers APC screens Lokpobiri, 5 others for Bayelsa guber primaries Right leadership key to development — Obi


Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (530,814 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (439,246 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (384,309 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (323,364 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (290,940 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (251,583 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (246,495 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (233,982 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (228,472 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (214,692 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (193,445 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (191,329 views)


CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (99) Business & Economy (4,407) Business Verdict (79) Columnists (1,097) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (215) Entertainment (649) Features (798) Global Business Monitor (424) ICT Monitor (59) International (3,861) Interview (199) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (166) Maggie's Blog (387) News (50,379) Opinion (1,336) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,339) Religion (1,089) Sports (2,138) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update







APO Group Partner




GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera