Seoul, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- A South Korean court on Friday reduced former president Park Geun-hye’s prison sentence from 30 to 20 years in cases linked to the corruption and influence-peddling scandal that led to her ouster in 2017.
The Seoul High Court sentenced Park to 15 years in prison for bribery and another 5 years for abuse of power and other charges linked to the scandal, local news agency Yonhap reported.
The court also ordered the former president to pay fine of 18 billion won ($15 million) apart from making her forfeit an additional 3.5 billion won.
Park had earlier been handed a combined sentence of 30 years in judgments in 2018 and 2019, and a fine and forfeit of 20 billion won and 2.7 billion won respectively.
“Failing to fulfill the constitutional duty as the president and committing crimes, (Park) created a big mess in the running of state affairs,” the court said in Friday’s ruling, according to Yonhap.
However, the court added that it was taking into account the fact that the leader “seems to have received little personal benefit and to almost have been declared politically bankrupt,” according to the court.
The prosecutors had sought a 35-year sentence for Park, who was not present during the decision just like the earlier hearings and judgments.
Park, 68, was indicted in January 2018 on charges of illegally accepting around 3.5 billion won (about $3 million) from funds of the National Intelligence Service.
At the time, the conservative leader was already being tried for the “Rasputin” scandal, due to which she was forced to resign in March 2017 and sentenced to 25 years in prison, before the Supreme Court ordered a retrial based on a series of technicalities.
The slashing of the sentence comes after the top court acquitted the former president of an extortion charge over the alleged pressure she employed on business houses for paying donations to her friend and associate Choi Soon-sil, dubbed the “South Korean Rasputin” for the influence she wielded during Park’s tenure.
Last year the court had declared that the seeking of funds by Park did not amount to extortion.
However, Choi’s 18-year prison term was upheld by the Supreme Court last month.
The corruption scandals involving Park and also implicating prominent businessmen such as Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong, sparked mass protests in South Korea between 2016 and 2017. EFE-EPA