A woman has been found guilty of trying to blackmail millions of dollars from Canadian singer Celine Dion's husband RENE ANGELIL.

It took the Clark County District Court jury only five hours to convict YUN KYEONG KWOM SUNG of conspiracy to commit extortion and bribery. The 49-year-old faces either probation or a custodial sentence of up to 16 years in a state prison when she is sentenced later this year (16DEC04).

Angelil's lawyer LJ O'NEALE portrayed Sung as a greedy woman looking to solve her increasing financial problems after breaking a $2 million (GBP1.1 million) confidentiality agreement reached with Angelil after she accused him of fondling her in March 2000.

O'Neale insisted that this agreement had been reached not as an admission of guilt, but to safeguard Dion and Angelil's health and public image.

However, crippled by increasing gambling debts, Sung and her husband AE HO KWON looked to secure yet more money for their silence. At a 2003 secret meeting, their lawyers, JOSEPH HONG and MICHAEL OLSEN, were recorded on a secret police video recording telling Angelil's representative that their clients would take their story to the press if they weren't paid $13.5 million (GBP7.5 million). The couple were arrested as they left the meeting.

The couple originally waited two years before taking their case to the police, and they refused to investigate it further after Sung and Kwon refused to hand over an item of clothing they alleged was stained with Angelil's bodily fluids.

Kwon's trial begins next year (10JAN05), while Sung faces deportation on a separate federal immigration charge.

01/11/2004 10:50