Ex-spy chief gets 3 1/2 year jail term for power abuse
SEOUL, A Seoul court on Wednesday sentenced a former chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to three and a half years in prison for abusing power to block a prosecution investigation into suspected political maneuvers led by the NIS under the previous Park Geun-hye government against her liberal rivals.
The Seoul Central District Court handed down the verdict for Nam Jae-joon, who led the NIS from 2013-2014. The court also sentenced a former senior prosecutor and an ex-ranking NIS official to prison terms of up to two and a half years on similar convictions.
Nam was indicted for hampering a prosecution probe into allegations that the spy agency had been carrying out massive cyber operations on the Internet aimed at swaying public opinion in favor of the Park government.
The NIS, under the leadership of chiefs appointed by two conservative presidents, hired hundreds of its retirees and people associated with conservative civic groups to write thousands of Internet comments in support of the government while maligning the liberal opposition.
Nam and the other defendants were accused of involvement in setting up fake offices and documents to cover their tracks and preparing for a prosecution raid after they got a tip from one of their own at the prosecution office. They were also suspected of training the comment writers for a prosecution interrogation and telling them to lie.
Former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon was convicted by the Supreme Court in April for orchestrating the illegal schemes to influence the 2012 presidential election in favor of Park, then the ruling party candidate.
Source: Yonhap News Agency