Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said it conducted a search and seizure operation at Cho’s office at the law school where he teaches, as part of a probe into a school admissions scandal involving his two children.
The recently resigned minister is suspected of orchestrating illicit efforts to forge credentials from the university’s law department for his daughter in 2009 and for his son in 2013 and 2017.
Prosecutors found the certificate templates on the Cho family’s computers during a Sept. 23 raid of his home in Bangbae-dong, southern Seoul. The certificates, issued under the law school’s center for public interests and human rights, were without a seal, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors believe the certificates had been submitted as part of the Cho children’s applications to colleges and law schools in an attempt to improve their chances at admission.
Upon stepping down from his Cabinet post on Oct. 14, Cho requested to return to the law faculty and resumed his job there.
Also on Tuesday, prosecutors questioned Cho’s wife, Chung Kyung-shim, who is being held in custody at a Seoul detention center, for the fifth time since her arrest on Oct. 23. She refused to respond to questioning the previous day, citing health reasons.
Chung was grilled over the extent of her and her husband’s involvement in the operations and investment practices of a private equity company owned by a relative of Cho.
Cho’s wife, two children and in-laws invested a combined 1.4 billion won ($1.2 million) in a fund called Blue Core Value-Up 1 while Cho served as senior presidential secretary in July 2017.
The fund’s operator Co-Link Private Equity, where Cho’s cousin-once-removed served as a de facto head, acquired battery manufacturer WFM later the same year.
Following the Cho family’s investments, WFM’s sales surged, winning state projects and government subsidies. Chung is also suspected of having purchased some 600 million won of WFM shares last year using a borrowed name. Cho is allegedly complicit with Chung.
Cho will likely face prosecutors’ subpoena before Nov. 11, when Chung’s detention expires.
By Kim Arin (email@example.com)