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Former President of South Korea faces 30-year jail term

Prosecutors in South Korea are seeking a 30-year jail term for former President Park Geun-Hye who was impeached last year in the middle of a “position or political influence” scandal that struck the country’s political and business ecosystem.

Park Geun-Hye was impeached in March and currently being tried on crimes relating to bribery, abuse of power and coercion.

The former president, Park, 66, denied any wrongdoing. Her trial had commenced in May and a verdict is expected before April.

A longtime friend of the former president, Choi Soon-sil, had been caught in the middle of a scandal and has been jailed for 20 years for receiving bribes from “chaebol”, or conglomerates, including electronics powerhouse Samsung and retail giant Lotte.

The prosecutors are also seeking a 118.5 billion won (91 million pounds) in fine.

The counsel representing Park pleaded for clemency as he claimed Park had tried her hardest “day and night” as president, according to the News1 agency.

“Park brought a national crisis by letting a person who has never been involved in state management rule the country,” a prosecutor said.

“She and Choi took tens of billions of won in bribes and yet denied her crimes and obstructed efforts to establish the truth.”

The pleasant relationship between South Korea’s political elite and its largest chaebol, Samsung.

In South Korea, receiving bribes carries a penalty of up to life in jail.

The Chairman of South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate, Lotte Group, Shin Dong-bin, was also sent to two years and six months in prison in the same case.

However, the Seoul High Court suspended a prison sentence for Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee in early February – a surprise decision that sent shockwaves through political and business circles.

The court sentenced Lee to two and a half years in jail on charges including bribery and embezzlement – reducing the original term by half – but suspended the sentence for four years, meaning that he is unlikely to serve any more time in jail.

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