SEOUL: A disgraced former South Korean politician, Cho Kuk, was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday for forging documents to facilitate his children’s school admissions in a scandal that has deepened political divides and frustrated many young voters.
A star law professor, Cho was a key aide to former President Moon Jae-in and briefly served as a justice minister before resigning and being indicted on a dozen charges, including bribery and document fraud in late 2019.
The Seoul Central District Court convicted Cho of falsifying documents to send his son and daughter to prestigious high schools and universities, and peddling influence to interfere with a corruption investigation involving a Moon confidant.
Cho’s downfall dealt a stinging blow to Moon amid voter disillusionment over intensifying inequality and hypocrisy of Moon’s government and his progressive Democratic Party, and growing calls for fairness and reform.
It eventually gave rise to incumbent President Yoon Suk-yeol, who then as prosecutor-general investigated Cho and other graft scandals. Cho, who has denied any wrongdoing, said he would appeal.
“I humbly accept the verdict and I will fight for my innocence in the parts where I was found guilty in the appeals court in a more sincere and honest manner,” he told reporters after the ruling.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023
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