Donors to 'comfort women' civic groups lose refund lawsuits

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Donors to 'comfort women' civic groups lose refund lawsuits

People who donated to civic groups dedicated to supporting victims of Japan's sexual slavery during World War II lost lawsuits seeking the return of their donations worth about 90 million won ($69,700) on Tuesday.
The Seoul Central District Court rejected the donation refund lawsuits filed against the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, a civic group dedicated to backing sexual slavery survivors euphemistically called "comfort women," Rep. Yoon Mee-hyang, a former head of the council, and the House of Sharing, a shelter for comfort women.
The ruling came after about 50 donors filed two lawsuits seeking the return of their donations to the council and shelter between June and August 2020.
A first group of 23 donors sued the House of Sharing for the return of 50 million won. A second group of 32 donors launched litigation to demand that the House of Sharing return 36 million won and the Korean council, Yoon and the House of Sharing jointly return 1.72 million won.
The donation controversy erupted in May 2020, when Lee Yong-soo, a 94-year-old victim of Japanese sexual slavery, insisted that the Korean council and Yoon misused funds and public donations intended for the former comfort women.
Thereafter, suspicions were raised about the council's purchase of a healing center for former comfort women at a price higher than market value and Yoon's use of personal bank accounts in collecting financial donations during the funeral of an elderly victim.
Yoon, who had led the council for three decades until she won a parliamentary seat in April 2020, was indicted in September of the same year on charges of misusing public donations.
Around the same time, a whistleblower complaint was made at the House of Sharing that donations had been misappropriated.
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