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[Newsmaker] Ex-vice minister jailed for 30 months for taking bribes

Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui (Yonhap)
Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui (Yonhap)
Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui was sentenced to 30 months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for business favors.

The Seoul High Court handed down the sentence Wednesday, overturning a lower court ruling last year that cleared Kim of all charges due to lack of evidence and the statute of limitations.

Kim, who served as vice justice minister in 2013, was accused of having received sexual services arranged by a local developer, Yoon Joong-chun, on 13 occasions and having received bribes from Yoon and other businessmen from 2006 to 2008.

He was accused of accepting nearly 52 million won ($46,000) worth of bribes from another businessman, surnamed Choi, over the course of eight years ending in May 2011.

In November last year, the Seoul Central District Court cleared Kim of all charges due to lack of evidence and because the statute of limitations had already expired for some of the offenses.

But the appeals court found Kim guilty of some of the bribery charges, sentencing him to 2 1/2 years in prison and imposing a fine of 5 million won and a forfeiture of 43 million won. It upheld the lower court’s decision on the sex-for-favors scandal, however, citing the statute of limitations.

The former vice minister was taken into custody immediately upon the ruling.

The case came to light after a video clip was leaked during an adultery probe against Yoon in 2012. The video showed a drunken orgy at a private mansion where a number of men, including one who appeared to be Kim, appeared to be having a sex party with several women.

Kim denied that it was him in the video, but the court ruled he was present in the video and had received sexual favors. He was one of the government officials and other influential figures who accepted sexual services arranged by Yoon in exchange for business favors.

Prosecutors investigated the allegations twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, but did not file any charges, raising suspicion that he might have a powerful ally.

The probe restarted in March last year following a recommendation from a truth panel under the Justice Ministry.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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