Updated: 06/04/18 : 08:09:46
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World :: Former S Korea president faces 30 years for abuse of power

South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye has been found guilty of abuse of power and coercion, in a court verdict being broadcast live.

She faces 18 corruption-related charges. The verdict is still being read out and the final sentence is expected to be delivered within hours.

It is the culmination of a scandal which rocked South Korea, fuelling rage against political and business elites.

Ms Park, who denies wrongdoing, faces up to 30 years in jail and hefty fines.

The former leader was not in court on Friday for the verdict. She has boycotted her trial hearings and has previously accused the courts of being biased against her.

In a unprecedented move authorities allowed Friday's verdict to be broadcast live, citing extraordinary public interest in the case.

A friendship lies at the heart of the former leader's undoing. Ms Park was found to have colluded with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure conglomerates for bribes in return for political favours.

Choi, who rose to power as an influential confidante of Ms Park, was convicted of corruption in February. Their relationship has been the subject of intense public scrutiny amid allegations that Choi had undue influence over a nation's affairs through her connection with Ms Park.

Prosecutors alleged that Ms Park had given Choi unacceptable levels of access to official documents, and concealed Choi's involvement in state affairs.

After a prolonged series of hearings and months of street protests calling for her resignation Ms Park was finally removed from office in March 2017. She was arrested shortly afterwards, and has been in detention ever since.