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Supreme Court reverses lower court’s ruling on a disputed bribery case

Supreme Court reverses lower court’s ruling on a disputed bribery case

Posted February. 03, 2015 07:22,   


The Supreme Court has ruled that a person who gave money for supporting a candidate running for a local chief election of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation even after the election was over must be punished for bribery charges. The original ruling has been annulled and returned the case back to the Seoul Northern District Court, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

In the original ruling, Mr. Choi, 63, the Seoul chapter chief of the federation who was accused for allegedly handing over money after the election after promising to give money in return for support for him, and Mr. Cho, 51, Mr. Choi’s predecessor who received the money, were ruled innocent.

Mr. Choi had promised Mr. Cho to give a certain amount of money on a monthly basis if he is elected, in the run-up to the Seoul chapter chief election in December 2009. Mr. Cho was powerful in the chapter as he served as the Seoul chapter chief of the federation for 12 years from 1998. After being elected, Mr. Choi handed over a total of 13.5 million won (12,250 U.S. dollars) over 17 times from February 2010 to February 2012. Mr. Choi wired the money from his driver’s sister-in-law’s bank account to Mr. Cho’s son-in-law’s account.

In the first and second trials, the court ruled that Mr. Choi was innocent because he delivered the money after the election and the money was handed over not for the purpose of election.

The Agricultural Cooperatives Act stipulates that if a person gives money for the purpose of getting oneself or other person to be elected as an executive of a local agricultural cooperative, he or she shall be punished for two or less years in prison or 20 million won (18,150 dollars) or less in fines.

The lower court said it was hard to recognize that the money was given for the purpose of election given that it was delivered after the election. But the Supreme Court reversed the original ruling on Monday, saying, "Mr. Choi’s promise to deliver a fixed amount on a monthly basis in return for Mr. Cho’s supporting for him is an act with a purpose of getting him elected as the Seoul chapter chief of the federation.