Korean president gets 3 years in prison

Choi, 61, is accused of colluding with the university officials in 2015 in admitting her daughter, a then equestrian athlete, into Ewha as a gifted in sports.

Choi Kyung Hee, the former president of Ewha Womans University, and Namkung Gon, the university's former head of admissions, were also jailed for two years and 1 and half years respectively for their role in the affair.

The Seoul Central District Court handed down a three-year sentence on charges of bribery and obstruction, less than the seven-year term the prosecution had demanded.

Choi Soon-sil's conviction for soliciting favours for her daughter is the first in a wide-reaching influence-peddling scandal.

A state probe revealed that the school had admitted Chung at the expense of better-qualified candidates - a revelation which touched a raw nerve in education-obsessed South Korea.

Her entrance to the university and her high school diploma were canceled after authorities found her high school attendance and test grades had been forged.

Choi also faces separate charges, which have yet to be heard, of extortion, abuse of power and attempted fraud to extort bribes from business conglomerates.

The court denied prosecutors' requests to arrest Chung while her mother, Park, and Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee were being held in detention.

Choi is also being tried alongside her former confidante, impeached president Park Geun-Hye, over claims they forced top companies including Samsung to "donate" tens of millions to foundations Choi controlled.

Park, who is now on trial for bribery, coercion, abuse of power and leaking state secrets, is also accused of allowing Choi to meddle in official government business, despite not holding any office.

Park, who was impeached in December and is now on trial for bribery, coercion, abuse of power and leaking state secrets, is also accused of allowing Choi to meddle in official government business, despite not holding any office.

  • Leroy Wright