A district court ordered a local daily Wednesday to compensate Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn for a defamatory report that said he took bribes from the nation's top conglomerate, Samsung Group, years ago.
Siding partially with Hwang in a libel suit, the Seoul Central District Court ruled the Hankook Ilbo, flagship newspaper of the namesake media group, should pay 20 million won (US$19,500) in damages, saying that the article is not true.
The media outlet published the article on Oct. 4, 2013, alleging that Hwang had received gift certificates worth 15 million won from the group in 1999 while working as a senior prosecutor. The allegation was made by a lawyer who had worked for Samsung.
Hwang soon filed a suit, arguing that the report is groundless. He demanded that the newspaper pay him 100 million won for damages and that the article be removed from the newspaper's website.
"There is no considerable reason to believe the allegation because it is ambiguous and inconsistent," judge Bae Ho-keun said in his ruling. "The report is not true as (the defendant) failed to provide further evidence to back up the argument."
The court also ordered the newspaper to publish a correction on its front page and its website. (Yonhap)