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South Korean court increases ex-president Park's jail term to 25 years: Yonhap

A lower court had jailed Park for 24 years in April. Prosecutors appealed against that decision, seeking a tougher sentence.

FILE: South Korea’s ousted leader Park Geun-hye leaves a prosecutor’s office in Seoul on 21 March 2017. Picture: AFP.

SEOUL – A South Korean appeals court sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to 25 years in jail on Friday, the Yonhap news agency reported, in a case arising from a far-reaching corruption scandal that toppled her from power in 2017.

Park became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office when the Constitutional Court removed her over a scandal that landed the heads of two conglomerates in jail.

The Seoul High Court found that Park colluded with her friend, Choi Soon-sil, to receive tens of billions of won from major conglomerates to help Choi’s family and fund non-profit foundations owned by her, Yonhap reported, citing the court.

The court also fined Park, the daughter of a former military dictator, 20 billion won ($17.86 million) after finding her guilty of charges including bribery and coercion, Yonhap said.

A lower court had jailed Park for 24 years in April. Prosecutors appealed against that decision, seeking a tougher sentence.

Another South Korean court sentenced Park in July to eight more years in prison in a separate case arising from the same scandal, finding her guilty on charges of causing the loss of government funds and interfering in a 2016 parliamentary election.

Park, 66, has been in jail since 31 March, 2017, but has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She returned to South Korea’s presidential palace in 2012 as the country’s first woman leader more than three decades after she left it following the assassination of her father.

Her ouster last year led to a presidential election won by the liberal Moon Jae-in, whose conciliatory stance on North Korea has led to a significant warming of ties with the North.

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