On Monday, prosecutors indicted former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s brother, Cho Kwon, accused of filing fraudulent lawsuits against a school foundation run by his family and accepting money from job applicants in exchange for teaching positions at the school.
Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's brother (Yonhap)
Cho Kwon is now the third member of the Cho family, after Cho Kuk’s wife and his cousin’s son, to face corruption charges.
Placed in custody since Oct. 31, Cho Kwon has reportedly turned down every round of questioning, citing health problems including depression and claustrophobia.
Prosecutors allege Cho Kwon secured 10 billion won ($8.6 million) in bonds payable by filing fraudulent claims against the family-owned school foundation Ungdong, where he served as executive secretary.
He is also suspected of having taken 200 million won from two job applicants seeking teaching positions at the school. Arrested earlier, the applicants are standing trial.
Cho Kwon is also accused of obstructing business and abetting the destruction of evidence and fugitives to flee from Korea. He is reportedly preparing to ask the court to review his bail due to his health conditions.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are reportedly scheduling to summon ex-Justice Minister Cho Kuk for the second time later this week.
Cho Kuk refused to open up during Thursday’s eight-hour questioning, saying he “intends to reveal the truth in court” if prosecutors indict him.
In a statement his attorney released after the questioning, Cho Kuk denied all the allegations against him. Observers speculate that Cho Kuk was attempting to learn what prosecutors have against him.
Prosecutors say they will call in Cho Kuk one or two more times before they file for an arrest warrant. He is suspected of involvement in bribery and various offenses in relation to college admissions.
He is further accused of complicity in his wife’s alleged crimes, including embezzlement, insider trading, obstructing business and destroying evidence.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org