Back To Top

Arrest warrant sought for Cho's wife

Prosecutors on Monday filed an arrest warrant request for former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s wife, Chung Kyung-shim, on charges of forging a document used to support a university application for their daughter, as well as obstructing official business, insider trading, embezzlement and withholding evidence.

Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk (Yonhap)
Former Justice Minister Cho Kuk (Yonhap)

The latest development in the probe into corruption allegations against Cho’s family comes 55 days after the prosecution first raided multiple organizations connected with the family’s alleged malfeasance.

Earlier, Chung submitted what appeared to be a medical diagnosis to the prosecution, claiming she suffers from a brain tumor and other serious health problems.

However, the prosecution asked Chung to corroborate the claims, as the document did not have the name of the doctor or hospital responsible for the diagnosis, and says it has not heard from her since.

Chung is accused of forging a certificate issued by the university where she is a professor, which was used in her daughter’s medical school application, thereby obstructing the official business of the medical schools her daughter applied to.

Chung is also under suspicion of taking part in insider trading and embezzling in connection with an equity fund run by a relative of Cho.

Prosecutors also charged Chung with withholding evidence. Chung faces a total of 11 charges.

Throughout the prosecution’s investigation so far, Chung, who was questioned by the prosecution six times, has denied most of the charges against her.

The arrest warrant hearing is expected to be held Wednesday.

Also on Monday, Cho Kuk’s younger brother, Cho Kwon, appeared before the prosecutors for questioning in a wheelchair.

Cho, who contends he suffers from a herniated disk in his spine, faces allegations of embezzlement and bribery at a school foundation run by his family.

Earlier, the Seoul Central District Court refused to issue a warrant for his arrest, citing the state of his health, his admission of guilt and mounting evidence.

The court concluded that the charges against him are disputable.

Cho Kwon is accused of filing two fraudulent lawsuits in 2006 and 2017 against the family foundation, Ungdong, where he served as the executive secretary.

Prosecutors allege that Cho Kwon and his wife acquired a company owned by his and the former justice minister’s father, which carried out 1.6 billion won worth of renovations for Ungdong. That company folded in 2005 and the couple then set up a new company in 2006.

Another accusation facing the minister’s brother concerns 200 million won he allegedly accepted in bribes from job applicants seeking positions at a school run by the foundation in the 2010s. Two of the applicants have been arrested, one on Oct. 1 and the other Oct. 4.

Prosecutors deny that Cho’s health is failing and say they intend to proceed with more thorough questioning and file another arrest warrant later this week.

By Choi Si-young (