SEOUL – South Korean prosecutors demanded on Thursday 25 years in prison for Choi Soon-sil – a close friend of former president Park Geun-hye – for her role in a massive corruption scandal, which led to Park’s impeachment in early 2017.
The prosecution also urged the court to impose a penalty of 126.2 billion won ($98 million) on Choi, who is facing 16 charges, including abuse of power, coercion and bribery.
Choi, who did not hold any public office, was arrested in November 2016 for interfering in state affairs and extorting money from around 50 companies, including some of South Korea’s major family owned businesses, such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung, in return for official favors.
On Thursday, the prosecutors had also sought a four-year prison sentence for Shin Dong-bin, chairman of the Lotto group, accusing him of paying 7 billion won in bribes to Choi, although Shin has pleaded not guilty.
Samsung heir and de-facto head Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison in August for his role in the scandal.
The prosecution had also demanded a six years prison sentence and a 100 million won fine for former Park aide An Chong-bum, who is accused of accepting bribes from a plastic surgeon in exchange for commercial favors.
The corruption scandal involving Park and Choi had roiled the country toward the end of 2016 and had led to widespread protests and the impeachment of Park, who has been under house arrest since March pending ruling in her trial.