Prosecutors asked a court Wednesday to sentence a former vice culture minister to three and a half years in jail for extorting money from conglomerates in connection with an influence-peddling scandal that led to the ouster of President Park Geun-hye.
Kim Chong, who served as a vice minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism from 2013-2016, was indicted in October last year on charges of abuse of power, embezzlement and other charges.
Prosecutors also requested a 1 1/2 year prison term for Chang Si-ho, a niece of Choi Soon-sil, who is Park's longtime friend and confidante at the center of the scandal. She was indicted in December over similar charges.
Kim and Chang stand accused of colluding with Choi to force big conglomerates, including Samsung Group and a culture ministry subsidiary, to donate 1.8 billion won ($1.61 million) to a kids sports foundation allegedly controlled by Choi.
Chang is charged with siphoning off some of the funds. Kim is also accused of secretly revealing government documents to Choi to help her win a business deal.
Prosecutors said, although their charges are grave enough to deserve heavy punishment, they allowed for the fact that they have been cooperating with the investigation from the beginning.
The court is expected to deliver its ruling on the defendants on Dec. 6. (Yonhap)