The nation’s top court on Thursday upheld a prison sentence of 3 1/2 years against the former chairman of one of Seoul’s top private middle schools for admission corruption and embezzlement.
Kim Ha-joo, the former chairman of the board of Younghoon International Middle School, was found guilty of instructing his subordinates to skew admission scores to favor certain applicants and accepting bribes from the students’ parents in return.
The Supreme Court also convicted the 81-year-old former chairman of embezzling foundation funds for personal use.
Unlike ordinary middle schools, this specialized school selects its students. It is considered to be an elite school that offers better education than public schools and teaches most subjects in English.
The school came under scrutiny last year after media reported that a grandson of Samsung Electronics Co. chairman Lee Kun-hee had allegedly been admitted to the school under a “special consideration” category for children from a single-parent household.
The chairman’s son, Jay-yong, is a single father, but the news reports quickly drew public criticism that the school admissions system could be used as a channel by the rich to ensure a place for their children in top-tier schools regardless of academic performance.
The Samsung heir eventually issued a public apology, and his son transferred to another school. (Yonhap)