Seoul education chief fined over election bribery

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Seoul education chief fined over election bribery

Kwak No-hyun, the suspended Seoul education chief, was fined 30 million won on Thursday for bribing a rival candidate to get him drop out of the 2010 election for the capital's education superintendent seat.
 
 The Seoul Central District Court delivered the sentence to the liberal educator for violating the local election and education governance laws.
   With the ruling, Kwak will immediately be released and serve as the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education until a further ruling by higher courts.

   Prosecutors had sought a four-year prison sentence for him. 
   Kwak was arrested and suspended from his duties in early September last year and the court dismissed his bail application the following month.
 
 The suspended education chief was indicted on Sept. 21 on charges of giving 200 million won (US$176,000) to Park Myoung-gee, a rival candidate from the same liberal block, in return for quitting the race in June 2010.
 
 Kwak had also offered Park, a professor at the Seoul National University of Education, a position as a Seoul city education adviser, after winning his current position.

   Park withdrew his election bid just a few days before the election, which supposedly helped consolidate liberal voters' support for Kwak to win the race.
   Kwak has consistently maintained his innocence, claiming the money, paid in early 2011, was a gesture of "good will" for Park, who incurred substantial debts from his unsuccessful election campaign, not a reward for the withdrawal. Yonhap
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