07 April, 2018
Along with the prison sentence, Park was also fined 18 billion won (£12 million), Judge Kim said.
Prosecutors had sought 30 years of jail-term and fine of 80 million pound. Park was also fined almost $17 million.
The judge added that tough sentence imposed on Park was necessary in order to send a note of warning to future leaders. Choi's influence over the president led one opposition lawmaker to describe Park's government as "a scary theocracy".
The friend, Choi Soon-sil, was convicted in a separate trial of receiving bribes from conglomerates including Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors, and the Lotte Group.
Anchor: A Seoul court has sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to 24 years in prison on corruption charges.
In addition, Park was found guilty of leaking confidential presidential documents to Choi. Park protested about the live broadcast a day ago, but the authorities allowed today's verdict to be broadcast live for extraordinary public interests. The ousted president has not shown up in any court hearing since October past year to protest against her extended detention for six more months.
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Her guilty verdict is expected to drive calls for constitutional reform to limit South Korea's presidential powers, as fellow former leader Lee Myung-bak is now under investigation over a separate scandal. But he's also remembered for imprisoning and torturing dissidents.
She began her boycott of the trial after being denied bail in October.
Chun, along with his chosen successor Roh Tae-woo (president from 1988-1993), were both arrested in the mid-1990s on charges of embezzlement, treason, and the brutal murder of hundreds of pro-democracy protesters.
In 2012, she won the presidential election by beating rival Moon Jae-in. But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career. She was also charged with soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favours. Outside the courthouse, Park's supporters staged a rally calling for her release.
Park's immediate predecessor, Lee Myun Bak, was arrested late last month over corruption, making him the country's fourth former president to be arrested on criminal charges.
The prosecution had demanded 30 years in prison for Park, who was ousted early last year in a massive corruption scandal involving her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil.