November 17, 2016 11:45
The daughter of President Park Geun-hye's crony Choi Soon-sil is about to be stripped of her high-school diploma over evidence of blatant favoritism.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on Wednesday said a probe of Chungdam High School in the tony Gangnam area attended by Chung Yoo-ra revealed enough glaring irregularities to annul her diploma.
"The rules of attendance and grading, which should be applied equally, were waived only for this student," office superintendent Cho Hee-yeon told reporters.
The office said Chung was present on only 17 of the senior school year's 193 days in 2014. The school agreed to let her miss 141 days when she submitted documents showing that she participated in equestrian competitions or training overseas, but that still leaves 35 days when she was unaccounted for.
The office decided that the documents were at any rate bogus after checking her customs overseas departure records and finding that she was out of the country even on days when she was listed as present at school or when she had told school officials she was competing in domestic dressage competitions.
There was also preferential treatment in her grades. Even though she missed most of her physical education classes, Chung received almost perfect scores on her skill and performance evaluation, and even won an award. She then used the grades and award to gain a spot on the national equestrian team.
And while a high-school dressage athlete is allowed to take part in a maximum four competitions a year, Chung competed in more without the school's approval. She was selected to the national equestrian team when she was a senior in high school based on points she accumulated simply by turning up at many competitions.
Officials also discovered that one of her teachers received an envelope with W300,000 from Choi (US$1=W1,172).
The office is asking prosecutors to investigate. Cho said, "We have enough objective grounds to annul Chung's diploma twice over."
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