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S. Korea's Park handed more jail time over spy funds

July 20, 2018

South Korea's former president was sentenced to eight more years over abusing state funds, meaning she now faces a total 32 years in prison. The latest case involved illegal payments from the country's spy agency.

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/YNA

A court in South Korea found former President Park Geun-hye guilty on Friday of misusing government funds and interfering in a 2016 parliamentary election.

Park was sentenced to an additional eight years in prison, meaning the 66-year-old now faces a total of 32 years in prison. In April, she was given a 24-year prison sentence after being found guilty of separate corruption and abuse of power charges.

The case before the Seoul Central District Court on Friday concerned illegal payments Park received from South Korea's National Intelligence agency, amounting to some 3.3 billion won ($2.9 million; €2.5 million).

"The accused received some three billion won over three years from the three NIS chiefs. Through this crime, the accused caused a considerable amount of loss to the state treasury," said senior judge Seong Chang-ho at the Seoul Central District Court.

The three former NIS chiefs testified that they'd channeled the funds to the former president on her orders, the court said.

Park, who has denied any wrongdoing and described the charges as "politically motivated," was not present in court for the sentencing.

Money allegedly used in boutique

The public money funneled from the spy agency was allegedly used to maintain her private house, fund massage treatments and finance a boutique where Park's close friend Choi Soon-sil had all of Park's clothes made.

Choi was a central figure in the corruption scandal that led to Park's impeachment and criminal convictions. Choi was found guilty of taking advantage of her private ties with Park to extort bribes worth millions of dollars from businesses including Samsung. She is currently serving a 20-year sentence for bribery, abuse of power and meddling in state affairs.

Park was ousted from office in March 2017 following an impeachment vote in parliament and weeks of mass demonstrations calling for her to step down.

rs/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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