Ex-S.Korean President guilty of abusing power

Former Pres. Park Geun-hye Won't Appear in Trial to be Broadcast Live

JUST IN: Ex-president sentenced to 24 years in Jail

She became the third South Korean president convicted of crimes. But while public anger was intense, her activities were seen as merely another example of the murky ties between government and business at the upper echelons of Korean society.

Her guilty verdict is expected to drive calls for constitutional reform to limit South Korea's presidential powers, as fellow former leader Lee Myung-bak is now under investigation over a separate scandal.

Prosecutors sought a 30-year sentence and a 118.5 billion won ($112 million) fine for Park, after indicting her on charges that included bribery, abuse of power and coercion.

A South Korean judge said Friday that ex-President Park Geun-hye is guilty of abuse of power and coercion.

The article, published by the official KCNA news agency, had a cartoon of a panicking Park losing her dress and shoes as she ran to a bunker after hearing of one of North Korea's nuclear tests.

Park, 66, was alleged to have colluded with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former presidential aide, in pressuring businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.

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The two women were also convicted of taking bribes from some of those companies, including more than 7 billion won ($6.5 million) alone from Samsung.

But the court said most of Samsung's payments did not constitute bribes.

Choi, who rose to power as an influential confidante of Park, was convicted of corruption in February.

The court also ruled that Park, in connivance with senior government officials blacklisted artists who were critical of her government to deny them state assistance programs. They waved South Korean and US flags and held signs that read, among other things, "Stop murderous political revenge!" "She has to take heavy responsibility to make sure a president of the country does not abuse his or her power again". There were no immediate reports of major clashes or injuries.

Park's supporters - mainly older conservative voters - have staged street demonstrations nearly every weekend to protest against her impeachment and imprisonment.

Park has been held at a detention center near Seoul since her arrest in March 2017, after she was removed from office on a landmark court ruling.

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Park is a daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea from 1961-1979.

Park has maintained her innocence.

Some of the biggest South Korean companies and their leaders have been drawn into the scandal, as well as numerous figures from the entertainment world and government servants.

A Seoul TV station had also obtained Choi's tablet computer containing many confidential presidential documents, including drafts of Park's speeches. 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. She was charged and detained soon after her dismissal from office.

In a presidential byelection triggered by Park's early exit, Moon won an easy victory against wounded conservatives.

"There are so many people related to the corruption scandal".

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Despite the doomsday scenario, the Defence Committee claimed the crack pot dictator was still rational and could be reasoned with. However, it is also noted there has been "no sign" of Kim wanting to target the United Kingdom with nuclear weapons.

Lee Myung-bak, president from 2008-2013, was a strong anti-corruption proponent.

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