Deposed South Korean President who bought Viagra in Nairobi jailed

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Along with the prison sentence, Park was also fined 18 billion won ($16.8 million), Kim said.

The former president will now serve 24 year in jail after she was found guilty of bribery, coercion and abuse of power.

Park was also ordered to pay a fine of 18 billion won ($17 million).

This case was the rarest in the history of South Korea where the court chose to broadcast the trial live. But Park, who continues to strongly deny any wrongdoing, has boycotted the court for the last six months and refused to attend today's sentencing.

Prosecutors had asked for Park to receive a 30 year sentence.

"The accused abused the power bestowed by the people - the true ruler of this country - to cause chaos in national administration", said Judge Kim Se-yoon, delivering the ruling.

The former president was also found guilty of making companies sign lucrative deals with Choi's firms and donated gifts to her family.

Former President Park Geun-hye arrives at the entrance of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to undergo prosecution questioning on March 21, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. Similar charges were laid against Choi, while Samsung Samsung Group chief Lee Jae Yong and Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong Bin were charged with bribing Choi.

The trigger was a snowballing graft scandal involving Park and Choi and accusations of graft, influence-peddling and taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for policy favours.

South Korea's presidential residence, the Blue House, issued a statement after the verdict calling it a "heartbreaking event for the nation".

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Park Geun-hye is not the only former South Korean president to face criminal charges.

April 6: The court sentences Park to 24 years in prison.

She exploited her position not just for financial gain, but also to build the equestrian career of her daughter, who was admitted to Ewha and selected to represent South Korea in the 2014 Asian Games.

Park's defense lawyers say they will decide whether to appeal the ruling after confirming her intentions.

The judge added that tough sentence imposed on Park was necessary in order to send a note of warning to future leaders.

The daughter of dictator Park Chung-hee - assassinated in 1979 - Park held office from 2013 until March 2017, when she was stripped of her powers after the country's Constitutional Court upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her.

She was also convicted of collecting or demanding a total of almost $22 million in bribes from three of South Korea's top business conglomerates, including Samsung, Lotte and SK.

Park was removed from office early a year ago following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the nation's streets calling for her ouster. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

Park's four years in office were marred by rising animosity with rival North Korea over its advancing nuclear program, a 2014 ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people, mostly teenagers on a school trip, and criticism that she curbed free speech and didn't manage things transparently.

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