World Bulletin / News Desk
Choi, 61, was a central player in last year's presidential scandal that led to the impeachment of her old friend and former leader Park Geun-hye, who was ousted from office and placed behind bars in March.
Having been portrayed by the media as a Korean Rasputin secretly controlling state affairs, Choi was arrested in November 2016 on 18 charges, from forcing bribes from large conglomerates to soliciting favors for her daughter from a prestigious Seoul university. The latter allegation earlier led to a three-year prison sentence, but that term could become far more severe.
"The true nature of this case is the clandestine and unethical backscratching between political and money powers, and the greed and misdeeds of someone behind the curtain fully capitalizing on it," the prosecution said in a closing statement carried by Yonhap News Agency.
Blaming Choi for "throwing the nation into confusion and turmoil," Special Counsel Park Young-soo and state prosecutors additionally asked that Choi pay a fine of 118.5 billion won (US$109 million) and forfeit 7.7 billion won (US$7.07 million).
Seoul Central District Court is expected to reach a verdict next month, while also considering the future of Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin. The prosecution additionally urged the court Thursday to jail him on bribery charges connected to the same scandal.
Like the already-imprisoned Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, Shin is among the country's most important business executives, highlighting the way this corruption case reached the highest echelons of society.
A 25-year sentence for Choi would be an alarming outcome for ex-President Park, who is being tried separately over a similar package of corruption charges against her former confidante.
Moreover, prosecutors requested six years in prison for Park's aide, An Chong-bum.