The Seoul High Court upheld the lower court’s ruling on Chung and levied a fine of 50 million won ($43,000) and additional forfeiture of 10.61 million won. The ruling comes eight months after Chung was sentenced the same prison term from the Seoul Central District Court in December.
The 58-year-old Dongyang University professor was indicted in November last year on 15 charges, including falsifying official documents, obstruction of business, insider trading, embezzlement and withholding evidence.
The court ruled she was guilty of all charges on working with her husband in falsifying awards and other official documents by using the seal of a university president in 2012 to support her daughter’s medical school application from 2013 to 2014.
The 29-year-old daughter, Cho Min, is currently working as an intern at Hanil General Hospital after earning her medical license in January. Both appellate and lower courts said the daughter could have failed to earn admission at Pusan National University without the forged certificates and awards.
The court also found Chung partially guilty of some charges in connection with a private equity fund.
The appellate court ruled Chung guilty of instructing her asset manager to conceal her office computer and delete documents related to the private equity fund but found her not guilty of other charges on obstructing the investigation and attempting to destroy evidence.
Prosecutors had asked the appellate court to sentence Chung to seven years in prison, a fine of 900 million won and forfeiture of 160 million won, the same level of penalization they demanded during the first trial.
“The lower court ruling was prejudiced and was full of preconceptions rather than being logically sensible, so we expected to fix this during the appeal process,” Chung’s defense attorney Kim Chil-joon told reporters after the ruling.
“Today’s ruling is largely a repeat of what was sentenced in the lower court, which is shameful and regretful.”
If Chung’s defense does not appeal and accepts the ruling as it is, there is a chance of Chung’s daughter being affected in terms of her academic background and credentials.
Korea University, where Cho Min earned her undergraduate degree, had said it would set up appropriate administrative procedures in accordance with the court ruling. Some of the forged documents were used for her undergraduate admissions to the Korea University.
PNU, where Cho Min attended as a medical student, is conducting an internal investigation to make a decision whether to cancel her admission, which is expected to take another three to four months. If her admission is canceled, her medical license will also be nullified.
The ruling on Chung is also likely to affect the upcoming court procedures for her husband, Cho Kuk.
He has been facing trial at Seoul Central District Court for abusing his power to help his children’s college admissions. Court found that Cho Kuk was directly involved in provision of some of the documents that Chung forged.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org)Internet Explorer Channel Network