Seoul (Web Desk): South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in jail after she was found guilty of abuse of power and coercion, BBC reported.

The former leader was not in court on Friday for the verdict.

The verdict was broadcast live and represents the culmination of a scandal which rocked the country, fuelling rage against political and business elites.

Ms Park, who was also fined 18bn won (£12m, $17m), faced a string of corruption charges.

She has boycotted her trial hearings and has previously accused the courts of being biased against her. She has also denied all wrongdoing.

The move by the authorities to allow Friday's verdict to be broadcast live was unprecedented, but they cited 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.