The first leg of former President Park Geun-hye’s trial will be concluded soon, with the courts set to hold a sentencing hearing this week.
Park is accused of a string of wrongdoings, including bribery and abuse of power. The former president is also alleged to have allowed long-time associate Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs.
Former President Park Geun-hye. Yonhap
The verdict comes around a year after Park was formally removed from office and arrested in March last year amid allegations that she colluded with Choi to take bribes from local conglomerates.
The Seoul Central District Court’s decision that will be delivered on Friday also comes after Choi, who was named as an accomplice, was given 20 years in prison for corruption by the court on Feb. 13 in the influence-peddling scandal that led to Park’s impeachment.
Ahead of the verdict, state prosecutors demanded a 30-year prison term for Park, 66, and a fine of 118.5 billion won ($111.7 million) for 18 charges, including receiving 59.2 billion won in bribes in collusion with Choi.
In connection with the corruption scandal, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin was given 2 1/2 years in prison for offering bribes in exchange for business favors to foundations effectively controlled by Choi.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison for offering bribes to Choi, but later had his convictions partly overturned on appeal.
Park, who has been in custody since last March, claims her innocence and is boycotting the hearings, calling her case a “political vendetta.” Since last October, Park has been refusing to attend her trial and is not expected to show up on Friday.
By Bak Se-hwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)