World

S. Korean ex-President's sister accused of fraud

Punjab Tribune Bureau | June 09, 2017 02:24 PM

Seoul, June 9: Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye's sister has been indicted over fraud charges for accepting money in exchange to secure a public contract for a social welfare organisation, prosecutors said on Friday.

Park Geun-ryoung has been accused of receiving 100 million won (around $89,000) in 2014 from the organisation.

However, according to the indictment, Park "had no connections to the relevant person at the public corporation and was not in a position to help win the contract", Yonhap news agency reported.

Park Geun-ryoung, a lawyer, has also been accused of violating the Attorneys-at-Law Act that prohibits advertising connections with public officials to a potential client, and which is punishable by up to five years in jail or fines of up to 10 million won.

Fraud crimes in South Korea are punishable by up to 10 years in prison or with a fine of up to 20 million won.

Park has denied the charges, saying she returned the money.

Her claim has been backed by the official from the social services company, who had paid the money.

However, in Korean law a person can still be punished for fraud even if he/she returns the money.

This is the latest scandal to have hit the family of the late Park Chung-hee, who led a military dictatorship in South Korea between 1961 and 1979.

His eldest daughter, Park Geun-hye, was elected President in December 2012 but was impeached in March 2017 -- almost a year before her mandate ended -- for her role in a massive corruption scandal, masterminded by her close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

The former President and her friend have been accused of extorting around $50 million from large South Korean firms in exchange for official favours.

Park Geun-hye has been the first impeached President in democratic South Korea and faces punishment of up to life in prison.

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