UPDATE : 2019.12.6 FRI 17:52
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Prosecutors demand 8-year jail term for ex-Park aide in influence-peddling scandal

Prosecutors demanded an eight-year prison term Monday for a former presidential aide involved in a corruption scandal that led to the removal of then-President Park Geun-hye from office last year.

Woo Byung-woo, 50, whho served as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs from 2015-2016, was indicted in April last year on charges of dereliction of duty, abuse of power and perjury. The Seoul Central District Court will hand down its verdict in about two weeks.

He is accused of neglecting his duty to carry out necessary inspection on the suspected irregular government approval on the establishment of two foundations allegedly controlled by Choi Soon-sil, Park's longtime friend and confidante. Choi has also been charged with corruption and is standing trial.

Woo is suspected of pressuring the culture ministry to demote several officials for acting against the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae regarding the sponsoring of equestrian games. Included in the charges faced by Park and Choi is collusion to benefit the equestrian training of Choi's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra.

Woo is also accused of exerting influence to obstruct an investigation into the alleged government mishandling of a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people, and lying about his interference at a parliament hearing.

The former senior prosecutor had avoided pre-sentencing detention over the charges as a court turned down his arrest warrants twice early last year. But he was arrested on Dec. 15 over separate charges, including illegal surveillance of civilians and government officials. The court hearing for the latter charges is due to begin in a separate trial Wednesday.

Woo Byung-woo, former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, is shown in this photo filed Jan. 22, 2018, walking toward the courthouse to attend his trial. (Yonhap)

Hwi Won  edt@koeapost.com

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