April 13, 2017 12:31
Prosecutors on Wednesday sought a five-year prison term for Cha Eun-taek, a promo director and drinking buddy of ex-President Park Geun-hye's confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Cha, who came to baffling prominence during Park's reign at Cheong Wa Dae, is suspected of using his ties to Choi in mafia-type extortion attempts.
Prosecutors said Cha also abused his relationship with Choi to meddle in key cultural policies of the government for personal gain.
At one stage he was put in charge of devising a new official form of calisthenics for the government that saw Park herself hop about in a training suit at a demonstration session but tanked like a lead balloon.
Prosecutors added that, although Cha cooperated with investigators, he denies most of the charges against him and has shown no remorse.
Cha argues that the charges do not hold up to close legal scrutiny although he feels "devastated" by causing his country so much pain. He will be sentenced on May 11. The trials of other suspects in the massive influence-peddling and corruption scandal are scheduled to wrap up next month.
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