December 15, 2017 10:31
Prosecutors on Thursday demanded a 25-year prison term for ex-President Park Geun-hye's crony Choi Soon-sil, with a fine of W118.5 billion and a forfeit of W7.7 billion (US$1=W1,090).
"The true nature of this case is the clandestine and unethical backscratching between politics and money, and the greed and misdeeds of someone behind the curtain fully capitalizing on it," prosecutors said.
Choi still portrayed herself as a victim in a histrionic final statement. "I have never once pursued any personal gains," she said, adding the requested fine "makes me feel like I live in a country worse than a socialist state."
She claimed to have stood by Park for 40 years and admired her as a woman who "lived her entire life honestly and frugally."
Choi's lawyer Lee Kyung-jae said a 25-year sentence would be "as good as dying in prison," and accused the prosecution of making Choi the patsy in a politically motivated case.
"The majority faction in parliament that passed the impeachment motion has branded this case as an influence-peddling scandal and the prosecutors and independent counsel have framed former President Park and my client as corrupt offenders," he said.
Prosecutors also sought a six-year prison term for former presidential secretary An Chong-bum. Sentencing hearings start on Jan. 26.
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