Choi Soon-sil Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison open the window of AOD

Write : 2018-02-18


A Seoul court has sentenced Choi Soon-sil, a central figure in the influence-peddling scandal that ousted former President Park Geun-hye, to 20 years in prison with a fine of 18 billion won. The sentence is less than the 25 years sought by prosecutors but the heaviest handed down so far for any figure involved in the scandal.
The Seoul Central District Court issued the verdict on Tuesday. Choi was found guilty of most of the 18 charges against her, including bribery, abuse of power and coercion.
Park’s former senior presidential secretary, An Chong-bum, who also stood trial, received a six-year prison sentence and was fined 100 million won for accepting bribes and for his involvement in Choi's influence-peddling.
The court also sentenced Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who faced bribery charges, to two-and-a-half-years in prison and a fine of seven billion won. He was accused of donating that amount to Choi's foundations in return for favors regarding Lotte's duty free business.
The court assessed that Choi colluded with former president Park to coerce companies to pay donations to the Mir and K-Sports foundations which were controlled by Choi.
Regarding charges that Choi received or was promised some 43 billion won from Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the court assessed that 7.3 billion won of that amount was bribes.
However, the judges decided that Samsung's contributions to Choi's foundations were not bribes. The court did not accept the prosecution's claim that Samsung offered the money in return for Lee's takeover of the company from his ill father Lee Kun-hee.
The court said Choi and Park can be held mostly accountable for the scandal which led to Park’s impeachment, saying the former president shared her authority bestowed by the people with Choi.
The ruling on Choi Soon-sil is also expected to affect Park’s trial. If the assessment on the existence of collusive relations between the two is also maintained in Park’s trial, the ex-president will inevitably receive a heavy sentence.

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