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Prosecution grills justice minister's wife again over alleged family corruption

Prosecutors on Saturday questioned Justice Minister Cho Kuk's wife for the second time this week as part of a sprawling investigation into corruption allegations surrounding his family.

Cho's wife, a university professor surnamed Chung, is suspected of inappropriately helping her daughter gain admission to medical school, as well as being involved in a dubious private equity fund investment.

Chung appears to have used the basement parking area to enter the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul without being exposed to the media.

Justice Minister Cho leaves home in Bangbae-dong, Seoul, Wednesday morning. (Yonhap)
Justice Minister Cho leaves home in Bangbae-dong, Seoul, Wednesday morning. (Yonhap)

Investigators first questioned her Thursday. The following day, the prosecution told her to appear for questioning again, but she refused to come, citing health problems.

On Sept. 6, Chung was indicted without undergoing questioning on charges of fabricating a college president's citation to be used for her daughter's medical school application.

Chung is also suspected of having been directly involved in the investment and management of Co-Link Private Equity. Of the 1.4 billion-won (US$1.16 million) investment, Chung and her two children put in 1.05 billion won in July 2017, right after Cho became the senior presidential aide for civil affairs to President Moon Jae-in.

The sales of a local lamppost switch manufacturer soared thanks to massive orders from government offices after the fund invested a large sum of money into the company, raising suspicions over Cho's possible influence.

Cho denied his role in the investment during his confirmation hearing. (Yonhap)