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Prosecutors Seek 30-Year Jail Sentence for Ex-South Korean President


FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017 file photo, Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, arrives to attend a hearing on the extension of her detention at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea.

South Korean prosecutors are seeking a 30-year prison sentence for ousted President Park Geun-hye in connection with the massive corruption scandal that led to her political downfall.

Prosecutors made the demand Tuesday during a hearing in the Seoul Central District Court, where they also asked the judge to impose a $110 million fine on the former president.

The 66-year-old Park is being tried on several counts of bribery, abuse of authority, coercion and leaking government secrets and allegations she used her office to coerce South Korea's major corporations into donating nearly $70 million to two nonprofit corporations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, Park's close friend and confidant.

Choi was sentenced by the court earlier this month to 20 years in prison and fined nearly $17 million on charges of abuse of power, bribery and meddling in state affairs.

The court is expected to announce its verdict on April 6.

South Koreans staged angry street protests in Seoul and other cities demanding Park's removal from office after revelations of the scandal first became public in late 2016. The legislature impeached her in December, and she was formally removed from office by the Constitutional Court the following March, making her the first democratically elected South Korean leader to be ousted from office. She has been behind bars since her ouster.

The scandal has also swept up the heads of two of South Korea's major corporations, the Lotte retail group and electronics giant Samsung. Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for bribery, accused of donating over $6 million to a foundation backed by Choi in exchange for a state license to open a duty-free shop and other favors.

Samsung Electronics heir Lee Jae-young was sentenced last August to five years in prison for bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, sheltering assets overseas and perjury of parliament. But an appeals court suspended Lee's jail sentence earlier this month and ordered his immediate release from prison.

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