S. Korea’s first fe­male PM jailed for illegal fund­ing

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

South Korea’s first fe­male prime min­is­ter was headed for jail Thurs­day af­ter the Supreme Court up­held a con­vic­tion and two-year prison sen­tence for ac­cept­ing il­licit po­lit­i­cal funds.

Now 71, Han Myeong- sook served one year as prime min­is­ter from April 2006 un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of then-pres­i­dent Roh Moo-hyun.

In 2010, she was

tried on charges of re­ceiv­ing 880 mil­lion won (US$760,000) from a busi­ness­man in illegal cam­paign fund­ing for her even­tu­ally un­suc­cess­ful 2007 bid to se­cure her party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

Han was ac­quit­ted by a dis­trict court which found the busi­ness­man’s tes­ti­mony un­re­li­able, but that ver­dict was re­versed in 2013 by the high court which sen­tenced her to two years’ im­pris­on­ment.

She was al­lowed to re­main free pend­ing her ap­peal, but Thurs­day’s Supreme Court rul­ing means she will now go to prison.

Cur­rently a sit­ting MP, Han will au­to­mat­i­cally for­feit her seat in the South Korea’s Na­tional Assem­bly.

She was the first woman to hold the post of prime min­is­ter in South Korea, and will now be­come the first for­mer premier to find her­self be­hind bars.

Han has al­ways de­nied ac­cept­ing il­licit money and ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of us­ing state pros­e­cu­tors to tar­nish her rep­u­ta­tion.

“I can­not ac­cept the rul­ing,” she said in a state­ment handed out fol­low­ing the Supreme Court de­ci­sion.

“I de­clare hon­or­ably and squarely that I’m in­no­cent,” she said, adding that she was the vic­tim of “po­lit­i­cal sup­pres­sion.”

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