Prosecutors in Seoul are seeking five years in prison for Cho Kuk, who served briefly as justice minister during the Moon Jae-in administration, over a college admissions scandal involving his two children.
Cho and his wife Chung Kyung-shim were sent to trial three years ago for making bogus certificates and forging credentials to get their children into prestigious schools, and accepting favors from the faculty.
While Cho was senior secretary in Moon’s Cheong Wa Dae, his daughter received scholarships from a medical school in Busan despite having failed her courses. Prosecutors found that the scholarships were awarded as bribes.
In January, Chung was handed four years for fraudulently securing her children’s admissions and for insider trading. Then, in October, the court allowed her to pause her sentence for a year due to ill health
After his wife was jailed, Cho has denied that he was complicit.
“Prosecutors are assuming complicity based solely on fact that Cho is part of Chung’s family,” the former justice minister’s lawyer said during a court appearance in June. “He was not aware of any of these activities, and he did not have any involvement.”
In a separate case, Cho was indicted for his alleged role in covering up corruption allegations surrounding Yoo Jae-soo, a close Moon aide, during his tenure as the former president’s senior secretary.