Chung Kyung-sim, center, a professor at Dongyang University and the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, attends her trial session Thursday at the Seoul Central District Court. (Yonhap)
Prosecutors demanded a seven-year prison sentence for the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, who stands accused of forging school documents and making illegal investments in a private equity fund.
The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday held the final hearing in the trial of Chung Kyung-sim, a professor at Dongyang University who has been indicted on 11 charges, including falsifying official documents, obstruction of business, insider trading, embezzlement and withholding evidence.
At the final session before the verdict, the prosecutors asked the court to penalize Chung with seven years of imprisonment, a fine of 500 million won ($443,000) and an additional forfeiture of 164.61 million won.
“This is a case of inheritance of academic advantages and inheritance of wealth. And practically, it is an attempt to avoid criminal punishment by withholding the truth,” the prosecutors said.
They said Chung’s alleged actions were a clear abuse of her power, not very different from those of former President Park Geun-hye. Park was impeached and jailed for a host of offenses, which essentially amounted to corruption and misusing her authority as president to further her private interests.
Chung is accused of falsifying certificates and other documents for her daughter by using the seal of the university president in 2012, to support her daughter’s medical school application from 2013 to 2014.
Chung was also accused of shady dealings in connection with a private equity fund. Prosecutors said she invested in the fund using fake names to profit from her husband’s status as a presidential secretary.
She is also accused of embezzling 150 million won from the fund on the pretext of earning consulting fees, after signing a fraudulent consulting contract with the fund management firm.
Chung has consistently denied all the charges against her, ever since the accusations first emerged during the parliamentary confirmation process for her husband as justice minister in September last year. Cho stepped down only 35 days after taking office amid the prosecutorial investigation into his wife.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org