Former South Korean president sentenced to prison for 24 years

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

She had boycotted most sessions of the trial in protest at being held in custody.

Park Geun-hye, the first woman to be elected as President of South Korea was declared guilty of multiple counts of abuse of power, bribery, and coercion by Seoul Central District Court.

Prosecutors had charged Park with 18 counts, seeking a 30-year jail sentence with a fine of 118.5 billion won (111.4 million USA dollars).

The ex-president was also fined 18 billion won (US$16.8 million) - which was just a tenth of the amount requested by the prosecution. She and Park were accused of extracting bribes or promises of bribes totaling $70 million from conglomerates including Samsung and from big businesses in return for favorable treatment from Park's government.

"Despite all these crimes, the accused denied all the charges against her, displayed no remorse and showed an incomprehensible attitude by blaming Choi and other. officials", Kim said, referring to Park's secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.

The scandal has already led to the arrests, indictments and convictions of dozens of high-profile government officials and business leaders.

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Choi was eventually found guilty of corruption, and sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year.

Park apologised at her trial for seeking help from Choi, who had no policy or political experience, but that was as close as Park came to admitting any guilt.

Park was the first female president of the country and is the first president to be impeached. There were no immediate reports of major clashes or injuries.

The corruption scandal triggered months of mass protests and political turmoil in South Korea.

Formerly jailed South Korean presidents have been released by presidential pardons by their successors.

According to the reports, Choi, who, had no government experience but was branded in a U.S. diplomatic cable as having "complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years". She quickly becomes a heavyweight in conservative politics.

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In 1974, Park's mother was assassinated by a North Korean sympathizer who was trying to kill her father.

Choi's father Choi Tae Min was described by a United States diplomat as a Korean Rasputin who had "complete control over Park's body and soul". But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career.

But the court said most of Samsung's payments did not constitute bribes. She has previously maintained her innocence.

She was arrested three weeks later.

A spokesperson for current President Moon Jae-in said in a statement that Friday's proceedings were "heartbreaking", and vowed that its lessons would be remembered.

Park Geun-hye joins the ranks of South Korea's many notorious leaders.

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Two others, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, were convicted for treason and corruption in the 1990s.

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