The former South Korean spy agency chief was on Wednesday sentenced to four years in prison for ordering the National Intelligence Service (NIS) officials to meddle in the 2012 presidential election.
The Seoul High Court sentenced former NIS head Won Sei-hoon, who led the spy agency from 2009 to 2013 under former President Lee Myung-bak, to four years in jail.
He was immediately taken into custody at the court.
Two former senior NIS officials, who had been accused of election intervention, were also sentenced to a suspended prison term of two and a half years each.
Won was convicted of violating both the NIS act and the election law, which ban public officials from engaging in election campaign activities.
The court acknowledged that Won had ordered the NIS officials to use 391 Twitter accounts to post online comments against the then opposition candidates in favour of the then ruling party candidate Park Geun-hye during the 2012 presidential election.
Park narrowly defeated then main opposition candidate Moon Jae-in, who won this year’s presidential by-election.
Won was sentenced by a low court to a suspended jail term, but the appeals court overturned it, sentencing Won to three years imprison.
The Supreme Court quashed the appeals court’s ruling, and ordered a re-trial to the appeals court. The Seoul High Court put the former spy agency chief again behind bars.
The NIS internal investigation said that Won was found to have ordered the operation of up to 30 illegal teams by involving Internet-savvy civilians, for smear campaign against then-liberal presidential candidate Moon Jae-in in the 2012 election.
The internal investigation result showed Won ordering the influence on parliamentary elections in 2012 and ordering money to be offered to right-leaning civic groups.