April 11, 2018 / 5:40 AM / 8 days ago

South Korea prosecutors say ousted Park unfairly avoided charges, appeal

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean prosecutors said on Wednesday former president Park Geun-hye had unfairly dodged some bribery charges in her trial and they appealed against her jailing for only 24 years, after they had demanded a 30-year sentence, media reported.

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrives at a court in Seoul, South Korea, August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Files

Park was sentenced last Friday at the conclusion of the country’s most momentous graft trial in years, which exposed webs of corruption between political leaders and some of its biggest conglomerates.

“The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said it finds part of the ruling clearing Park of some of the bribery charges against her unfair,” the Yonhap news agency reported.

The office was not immediately available for comment.

Park, the daughter of a former military dictator who became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader in 2012, had pleaded not guilty.

She was fined 18 billion won ($16.9 million) after she was found guilty on 16 counts, including bribery and abuse of power, in connection with the scandal that saw a court oust her from office in March last year.

Prosecutors had charged her on 18 counts and called for an 118.5 billion won ($111.16 million) fine, in addition to a 30-year jail term, but the court acquitted her of two of the charges.

The court ruled that Park was guilty of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to receive about 7 billion won ($6.56 million) each from Lotte Group, a retail giant, and Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors, while demanding 8.9 billion won from SK, an energy conglomerate.

One of Park’s state-appointed lawyers suggested after the trial that she could appeal, but she has yet to do so.

In South Korea, an appeal must be filed within a week of a court verdict.

($1 = 1,065.9900 won)

Supporters of ousted President Park Geun-hye gather outside a court after a South Korean court jailed her for 24 years, in Seoul, South Korea, April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Files

Reporting by Haejin Choi; Editing by Robert Birsel

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