A former South Korean justice minister who had once been a strong presidential hopeful was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday for falsifying academic documents of his children.
Cho Kuk, a former aide to ex-president Moon Jae-in, was once considered a rising political star who was expected to run to succeed his boss when he was named to lead the powerful justice ministry in 2019.
But soon after the appointment he was engulfed in allegations of favouritism and hypocrisy over his children's schooling, involving forging academic documents for his son and daughter to give them an upper hand in college and graduate school admissions.
The Seoul Central District Court found Cho guilty of document forgery and sentenced him to two years in prison with a forfeit of six million won ($5,000).
"The nature of his crimes are grave since he committed them exploiting his stature as a college professor in obstructing admissions processes over many years," the court said in a verdict.
Cho was also found guilty of abuse of power by interfering in a corruption investigation using his influence as a senior presidential secretary.
Cho said he will appeal the ruling. Once a liberal darling with an impeccable resume that included a professorship at the elite Seoul National University, Cho resigned as justice minister just a month after taking up the post in 2019. Yoon Suk-yeol, a former top prosecutor who oversaw the Cho investigation, went on to win last year's presidential election.