The Supreme Court in South Korea has sentenced the former President Lee Myung-bak to a 17-year jail term on charges of bribery and embezzlement.
The court pronounced the verdict on Thursday following his appeal to the 15 years prison sentence that was handed down in 2018.
The 78-year-old’s corruption case erupted after his successor Park Geun-hye was impeached and ousted on charges of ?bribery and abuse of power and sentenced to 25 years in prison by an appeals court in 2018.
Lee was convicted of taking bribes worth millions of dollars from big companies including Samsung, embezzling corporate funds of a company that he owned and misusing official funds of South Korea’s spy agency before and during his 2008-13 presidency.
Lee was bailed out of jail several months after his 15 years sentenced in 2018 but was taken back into custody in February this year after an appellate court handed down a 17-year term and cancelled his bail.
He was released again six days later after he appealed that ruling on his bail cancellation.
The Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling is final and cannot be appealed and he will be go back to prison Immediately.
The country’s first-ever president with a business background assumed office in 2007 after winning presidential election amid public hopes to revitalize the country’s economy.
His five-year term was however tainted by a global financial meltdown, huge street protests over the resumption of U.S. beef imports and military tensions with North Korea.
He began his career as businessman with an entry job at Hyundai Group’s construction arm in the mid-1960s, before he rose to CEO of 10 companies under Hyundai Group and led the group’s rapid rise at a time when South Korea’s economy grew explosively after the 1950-53 Korean War.
He served as Seoul mayor before elected as president and his business background symbolized the country’s economic rise when he assumed office of the president.
However, the back-to-back scandals badly wounded conservatives in South Korea and deepened a national divide.