Ex-justice minister of South Korea’s wife charged in political corruption case
Probe of Cho Kuk family assets tied to the college perks of daughter
SEOUL — The wife of a former South Korean justice minister and close confidant with President Moon Jae-in was arrested on Thursday at the centre of a political corruption case after a court upheld prosecutors’ request for a warrant.
The arrest of Chung Kyung-shim, a college professor and former justice minister Cho Kuk’s wife, comes after a prosecutors ‘ probe into Cho’s financial investments and college admissions for his children.
After just one month in office, Cho has stepped down. His appointment sparked a significant crisis for Moon after demonstrators from both sides of the political spectrum took to the streets in numbers that have not been seen in two years.
An official at the court said, The Seoul Central District Court issued the warrant soon after midnight. According to Korean media reports, the charges against her include forging documents and irregular financial investments.
Chung’s lawyers said the allegations against her were groundless after a warrant hearing on Wednesday, and that she should be allowed to stand trial without being detained.
The presidential Blue House has not commented about her arrest.
The main opposition conservative Liberty Korea Party welcomed her arrest and called for a probe into Cho himself.
Cho is a legal scholar renowned for progressive thinking was selected by Moon to lead the reform of the prosecutors’ office, which legal system critics say has been susceptible to political pressure for a long time.
Cho had also served as Moon’s chief legal adviser.
Moon supporters say the Cho family investigation is politically motivated and completely unjust.
Cho who did not deny his daughter received academic perks, has publicly apologized for the disappointment that has been caused but denied any wrongdoing committed by his family.
Public support for Moon plummeted during the two months since Cho was nominated for justice minister, dragging his approval ratings to a record low since he took office in 2017.