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Ex-Park aide given suspended jail term for attempted coercion of CJ Group

A Seoul court on Friday meted out a suspended jail term to a former economic aide to ex-President Park Geun-hye for collusion in a botched attempt to pressure a senior official of CJ Group to quit in 2013.

The Seoul Central District Court gave Cho Won-dong, Park's former chief economic secretary, a one-year prison term suspended for two years, finding him guilty of having attempted to coerce the group to dismiss Group Vice Chairwoman Lee Mie-kyung.

With the verdict, the court noted that Park, who has also been detained for a string of other corruption charges, had colluded in the attempt to pressure CJ Group Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik to dismiss his niece Lee.

Cho Won-dong (Yonhap)
Cho Won-dong (Yonhap)

"The act of the president or a senior presidential secretary intervening in a personnel affair or the management of a private company ... this itself is an illegal act," the court said in its ruling.

"Although he was aware that the president's instruction was illegal, the defendant pressured Sohn by using the position or authority of the president or the senior presidential secretary." (Yonhap)