S. Korean prosecutors seek 30 years’ jail for ousted president

They also want ousted South Korean president to pay $145 million fine

SEOUL: South Korean prosecutors yesterday sought a 30-year jail term for former president Park Geun Hye, who was ousted last year amid an influence-peddling scandal that rocked the country's business and political elite.

Park, 66, was dismissed in March last year after being impeached and is standing trial on charges of bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She denies wrongdoing.

The prosecution's recommendation came two weeks after Choi Soon Sil, a long-time friend of Park who was at the centre of the scandal, was jailed for 20 years for taking bribes from "chaebols", or conglomerates, including electronics powerhouse Samsung and retail giant Lotte.

Prosecutors are also seeking a 118.5 billion won (S$145 million) fine.

A lawyer representing Park said he is requesting clemency as Park had tried her hardest "day and night" as president, according to the News1 agency.

A verdict in Park's trial is expected before April this year.

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."

Receiving bribes carries a penalty of up to life in jail.

The court also sentenced Shin Dong Bin, chairman of Lotte Group to 21/2 years in prison in the same case.

Earlier this month, the Seoul High Court suspended a prison sentence for Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee - a decision that sent shockwaves through political and business circles.

The court sentenced him to 21/2 years in jail on charges including bribery - reducing the original term by half - but suspended the sentence for four years, meaning he is unlikely to serve any more time in jail. - REUTERS