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South Korea court hands ex-president Park 8 more years in jail

Park Geun-hye is already serving 24 years in prison on separate corruption charges following her removal in 2017.

A South Korean court sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to eight more years in prison on Friday after finding her guilty on charges of causing loss of funds from the state spy agency and interfering in 2016 parliamentary elections.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Park, who already received a 24-year jail term over separate corruption charges, colluded with her former aides to cause the loss of government funds worth 3.3bn won ($2.91m) from the National Intelligence Service.

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

Three former NIS chiefs testified they had funnelled the funds to Park on her orders, the court said.

The judge rebuked Park, who denied the charges, for being "uncooperative" throughout the court hearing and questioning by prosecutors.

She was also found guilty of interfering in the then-ruling Saenuri Party's selection of candidates for the parliamentary election.

Prosecutors had earlier demanded a 15-year sentence for Park. 

Park, 66, has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She was found guilty by a lower court in April of separate charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She was also fined $16m. 

She now faces a total of 32 years in prison. 

Impeached and removed from office

Park is the third former South Korean leader to stand trial for corruption.

In December 2016, South Korean legislators overwhelmingly voted to impeach Park but she refused to resign, offering instead an apology while denying any legal wrongdoing.

Three months later, the eight-member Constitutional Court voted unanimously to remove her from office.

She was charged and arrested soon after her dismissal from office in 2017. 

She is the daughter of another former president, Park Chung-hee, who seized power in 1961 and was assassinated eight years later.

Park could potentially get an even longer jail time depending on the rulings of the appeals courts.

Following the earlier ruling in April, prosecutors appealed Park's 24-year term on charges including bribery and abuse of state power and are now demanding 30 years in prison.

The Seoul High Court will rule on the case on August 24.


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