Ex-S.Korean President guilty of abusing power

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Seoul, April 6 (IANS) A South Korean court on Friday found former President Park Geun-hye guilty of abuse of power and coercion.

She faces 18 corruption-related charges. The verdict is still being read out in a live televised tria and the final sentence is expected to be delivered within hours, reports the BBC.

Park faces up to 30 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

She has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Park, South Korea’s first female president who took office in early 2013, became the nation’s first elected head of state to be ousted, reports Yonhap News Agency.

She is accused of conspiring with her longtime friend and confidante, Choi Soon-sil, to force 53 firms to donate 77.4 billion won ($72.6 million) to two charitable foundations controlled by Choi.

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Park was also indicted for accepting 59.2 billion won in bribes from Samsung, Lotte and SK in exchange for business favours.

She is suspected of having let Choi meddle in state affairs even though she had no official authority and held no post in the government.

The scandal led to a parliamentary impeachment of Park in December 2016. She was formally removed from office by the Constitutional Court on March 10 the following year.

Park did not appear in Friday’s sentencing trial.

She has been boycotting the hearing in protest of the court’s October decision to extend her incarceration six months.

–IANS

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