Seoul High Court sentenced former intelligence agency chief Won Sei-hoon to four years in prisonafter he was found guilty of meddling in the 2012 presidential election through a covert cyber operation.
The court ruled that political activities carried out by NIS workers AFTER former President Park Geun-hye was named as the candidate for the conservative Saenuri party - can be seen as political activity, thus violating election laws.
The court also said twitter accounts operated by NIS online commenters during the presidential campaign, reached nearly 400 - double the amount thought during the first trial.
The top court had sent the case back to the lower court for retrial two years ago - citing insufficient evidence but the prosecutors recently secured meaningful evidence proving Won's direct involvement, including his orders to manipulate public opinion in favor of conservatives.
Won served as NIS head from 2009 to 2013 - under the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration which was succeeded by former President Park Geun-hye after she beat current President Moon Jae-in by a thin margin in 2012.
Upon taking office, Moon pledged to reform the intelligence agency, starting with the removal of its domestic political department - as he vowed during his presidential campaign.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.