SEOUL, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- An appeals court in Seoul ruled Friday heavier sentences against ousted former President Park Geun-hye for her role in one of the biggest political scandals that has rocked the nation.
Park has been sentenced to 25 years in prison and a fine of $17 million on charges of bribery extortion and influence-peddling in a ruling by a Seoul High Court, according to Yonhap.
Her lawyers sought an appeal to the ruling of her first trial in April. She was sentenced to 24 years in prison and a fine of $15 million.
Park, 66, was convicted of coercing and demanding bribes worth more than $21 million from major South Korean conglomerates, including Samsung, Lotte and SK, in collusion with her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil.
"Park severely violated freedom in corporate management and their right of ownership while taking advantage of her rights and authority entrusted by citizens," the court said.
"The illicit trade of favors between the political and economic powers harms the essence of democracy and abuses principles of free-market trade," it read.
The court found Park guilty of requesting funds to corporates to support non-profit cultural and sports foundations that her friend Choi initiated.
It, especially, viewed the funding by Samsung was made in exchange for inexplicit political favors to facilitate the company's leadership succession planning from chairman Lee Kun-hee to heir Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics.