No proof for injury claims made by Cho’s brotherProsecutors investigating former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s family appear to have found evidence that Cho’s younger brother, who faces allegations of receiving bribes from teachers at a school operated by the Cho family, did not fall and hurt his back as he claims.
Sources with knowledge of the ongoing probe at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office told the JoongAng Ilbo earlier this week that prosecutors thoroughly reviewed CCTV footage from the area where Cho’s brother asserted he fell but found zero proof to corroborate his claims.
Prosecutors are planning to submit the footage to a court in the coming days when filing a second request to detain him before his trial, the sources continued, in order to dissuade the court from striking down the pretrial detention warrant because he’s injured.
The Seoul Central District Court dismissed the prosecution’s first warrant for him last week, saying his allegations were “open to doubt” and enough evidence collection has already taken place. The court also cited the younger Cho’s health in explaining why they decided not to detain him.
An official in the prosecution said Cho’s brother keeps claiming he needs to undergo surgery on his back but is refusing to submit any documents to prosecutors that specifically explain the surgery’s schedule.
Prosecutors apparently doubted the younger Cho’s alleged injury from early on.
On Oct. 8, Cho’s brother was supposed to appear at the Seoul Central District Court to attend his warrant hearing and offer an oral testimony of his self-defense but didn’t show up, citing that he was unwell.
Seoul prosecutors traveled to a Busan hospital to check on his health - only to discover CCTV footage from the hospital that showed him “roaming” around the halls with no hint of an injury, sources who were informed about the visit said.
Prosecutors were also said to have found hospital documents that read he was caught smoking inside his V.I.P. room and was warned about it.
Both pieces of evidence were submitted to the Seoul court that day, yet the younger Cho’s pretrial detention warrant was nonetheless struck down.
Cho’s brother faces allegations of receiving hundreds of millions of won in bribes in exchange for offering jobs to teachers at Ungdong Middle School in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, which is run by the Cho family. Prosecutors are considering summoning Cho’s mother, who’s head of the board of directors at the Ungdong School Foundation, soon.
BY KIM MIN-SANG, JEONG JIN-HO [firstname.lastname@example.org]