South Korea: Ex Justice Minister and Wife Charged with Graft

Two months after he resigned over a scandal involving forged documents regarding family investments and his children’s university admissions, prosecutors on Tuesday indicted former South Korean Justice Minister Cho Kuk and his wife for bribery and other charges, Reuters reported.

chokokCho Kok. (Credit: Jeon Han/ South Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)Cho faces a dozen charges, including document fraud, manipulation of evidence and violations of public service ethics law. The Minister’s wife Chung Kyung-shim, a university professor, was arrested in October.

The State Prosecutor’s Office said that the six million-won (US$5,183) scholarship the couple’s daughter received was a form of bribery and that the parents used inappropriate means to enrol their children in prestigious schools and falsely reported their assets, according to Korean Herald.

The scandal was a setback for President Moon Jae-in who named Cho to the cabinet post to reform the prosecutors’ office, Reuters said.

President Moon Jae-in’s office reportedly claimed the investigation against Cho “would deepen people’s distrust of the prosecutors.”

“The investigation shook the president’s authority,” said Moon’s press secretary, adding the result raised questions about the intent of the investigation.

Cho stepped down in October after serving as justice minister only for 35 days.