Choi Soon-sil gets 3 years in jailThe friend of former President Park Geun-hye charged with many counts of corruption was sentenced to three years in jail on Friday for soliciting academic favors for her daughter, the first ruling handed down in the corruption and abuse of power scandal that led to Park’s ouster.
The Seoul Central District Court found Choi Soon-sil guilty of obstruction of duty by exerting influence on Ewha Womans University to give undue favors to her 21-year-old daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, using her ties with the former president.
The court also sentenced Choi Kyung-hee, ex-president of the university, and Namkung Gon, the university’s former head of admissions, to two years and 1 1/2 years in prison, respectively, for complying with her requests.
The court acknowledged that Choi Soon-sil ignored the law and proper procedures and took for granted that others should help her achieve her daughter’s success.
“She committed too many wrongdoings to consider her actions sprung from the love of a mother who wants the best for her child.”
Choi, 61, was accused of colluding with the university officials in 2015 to admit her daughter, who was an equestrian athlete, into Ewha.
She is also accused of demanding professors give her daughter grades for papers Chung never submitted and exams she never took.
The court’s ruling is the first of the many charges Choi faces in connection with the influence-peddling scandal. Her charges include suspected bribe-taking worth at least 7.8 billion won ($6.85 million) from Samsung.