The Latest: Confidante of ex-SKorean leader vows to appeal

SEOUL, South Korea — The Latest on South Korea's political corruption trials (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

The lawyer representing the former South Korean president's confidante has vowed to appeal after the friend was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in a wide-ranging political scandal.

Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend of former President Park Geun-hye, was convicted Tuesday for abusing her close ties with Park to gain personal profit and for receiving bribes from Samsung, Lotte and other big South Korean businesses.

Lee Kyung-jae, who represents Choi, said he was confident his team can overturn the charges on appeal.

After the sentencing was announced, Choi left the courtroom quietly without showing emotion, according to media pool reports.


4:40 p.m.

The chairman of South Korea's Lotte Group has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for bribery in a wide-ranging corruption scandal that brought down the country's president.

The Seoul Central District Court said Tuesday that Shin Dong-bin, chief of South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate Lotte, offered 7 billion won ($6.5 million) in bribery to the former president to curry favors such as to win a license to open a duty free shop and to strengthen his control over the business group.

The sentencing sends another shockwave to the local business community that was relieved to see Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong released from prison last week on a suspended sentence in the same scandal.

The court also sentenced Choi Soon-sil, the former President Park Geun-hye's confidante to 20 years in prison.

Lotte was one of many major companies that donated money to non-profit foundations controlled by Choi.


4:20 p.m.

A South Korean court has sentenced the former President Park Geun-hye's confidante at the center of the influence-peddling scandal to 20 years in prison.

The Seoul Central District Court said Tuesday that Choi Soon-sil was convicted on abuse of power, bribery and other charges. The court also imposed 18 billion won ($17 million) fine on her.

The court said Choi abused her close tie with the former president to take personal profit. Among her crime was coercing businesses to donate a huge amount of money to foundations under her control and receiving bribes from Samsung and Lotte.

It said her crime was grave given how she triggered an unprecedented impeachment of the president and disappointed the public.


2 p.m.

A confidante of former South Korean President Park Guen-hye has arrived in court to hear the verdict in her political corruption case.

Choi Soon-sil emerged Tuesday from a police bus with flashing lights and entered the court in Seoul. She has been jailed during her trial.

Choi is charged with abuse of power and eight other charges stemming from her role in nonprofit foundations and a winter sports center that solicited funds from top South Korean companies.

The scandal brought down Park and has implicated business leaders from Samsung and other corporations.


11:30 a.m.

A South Korean court is set to deliver a verdict in the case of a woman at the center of an influence-peddling scandal that triggered the country's first presidential impeachment and the conviction of an heir to the Samsung empire.

The Seoul Central District Court says it will issue a verdict Tuesday afternoon. Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of former President Park Geun-hye, was tried on abuse of power and eight other charges.

The daughter of a religious cult leader, she was largely unknown until a series of revelations in late 2016 disclosed how she allegedly pulled government strings from the shadows. The revelations implicated Park and top business leaders, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, and set a political upheaval in motion.

Prosecutors have requested a 25-year prison sentence for Choi.

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