Former South Korean Foreign Minister Jailed for Corruption

D-Bo , Aug. 24, 2015, 8:09 a.m.


Former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook was put behind bars Monday after the Supreme Court upheld last week her conviction for bribery. Han, who was prime minister from 2006 to 2007 under the late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, showed up at the Seoul Detention Center around 2:00 p.m. "I am innocent. So I have nothing to hide," Han, surrounded by her supporters and colleagues, said.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court sentenced Han to two years behind bars for accepting bribes as political funds from the head of a local construction company, stripping the opposition lawmaker of her parliamentary seat. She was convicted of receiving 880 million won (US$760,000) in illicit political funds during the presidential campaign in 2007.

While a district court acquitted Han, citing a lack of credibility over the statement made by the businessman during the prosecution's investigation, the appeals court overturned the original decision. The Seoul High Court, however, had not put the country's first female prime minister under custody, taking into consideration that she was a sitting lawmaker of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy. Under the law, a confirmed prison term or a fine of more than 1 million won handed down to a lawmaker results in the loss of his or her parliamentary seat.

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