Shin Jailed for Forgery, Embezzlement

    April 01, 2008 09:46

    Former university professor Shin Jeong-ah has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzlement and forging academic credentials.

    Judge Kim Myung-sup of the Seoul Western District Court found the former Dongguk University professor guilty of using a phony degree to become art director of the Gwangju Biennale, Korea's leading contemporary art event. Shin was also found guilty of embezzling funds from an art gallery where she had worked as a curator.

    Separately, the court sentenced ex-presidential aide Byeon Yang-kyoon to one year in prison on charges of influence peddling. The former aide's sentence was suspended for two years, but he must perform 160 hours of community service.

    Judge Kim said in a ruling that Shin forged academic records and falsely claimed to have studied at the University of Kansas. She then used the fake academic documents to become art director of the Gwangju Biennale, the judge said.

    Shin also embezzled funds from Sungkok Museum where she had worked as a senior curator, Judge Kim said. However, the court dismissed prosecutors' claim that Shin forged a doctorate from Yale, saying that the method, date and venue of the forgery was not clear.

    Former presidential aide Byeon was found guilty of peddling influence for Buddhist temples such as the Ven. Youngbae's Heungdeok Temple and Bogwang Temple so that they could receive government subsidies.

    However, citing lack of evidence, the court acquitted Byeon of pressuring businesses to offer donations to Sungkok Museum for his lover Shin. Also due to a lack of evidence, the ex-presidential aide was found not guilty of using his influence to help Shin become a Dongguk University professor and the Gwangju Biennale art director.

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