Prosecutors demand 25-year jail term for Park's friend

Prosecutors demand 25-year jail term for Park's friend

Choi Soon-sil, the central figure in ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s corruption scandal, is carried out in a wheelchair from the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on Thursday. (EPA-EFE/Yonhap photo)

SEOUL: South Korean prosecutors on Thursday demanded a 25-year prison term for the confidante of ousted South Korean President Park Geun Hye at the centre of a corruption scandal.

At the trial at the Seoul Central District Court, the prosecutors also demanded that Choi Soon Sil pay fines totalling 118.5 billion won (about $109 million) and forfeit 7.8 billion won.

Mrs Choi and two others are suspected of extorting massive donations from dozens of South Korean conglomerates, including the Samsung Group and the Lotte Group.

The prosecution told the court that Mrs Choi took advantage of her proximity to the president to enrich herself with funds meant to be returned to society.

“A severe punishment and confiscation of the illicit proceeds are obviously necessary,” the prosecution said.

The prosecutors also requested a four-year jail term for Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong Bin on charges of bribing Mrs Choi. The prosecution also asked the court to confiscate 7 billion won from him.

They also sought a six-year term and a fine of 100 million won for An Chong Bum, Park’s senior presidential secretary, who is suspected of colluding with Mrs Choi.

According to the indictment, Mrs Choi is alleged to have colluded with the former president and Mr An. Mrs Choi is suspected of using her ties to Ms Park to strong-arm business conglomerates into making large donations to foundations she effectively ran.

It has been alleged that the non-profit foundations, Mir and K-sports, raised a total of 77.4 billion won.