The Korea Herald


Board to discuss possible parole of president's mother-in-law

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 18, 2024 - 14:10

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The Ministry of Justice is set to conduct a parole review next week, with President Yoon Suk Yeol's mother-in-law expected to be included among those up for consideration, local media outlets reported Thursday.

The ministry is slated to hold a monthly session of the Probation and Parole Board next Tuesday, according to reports citing legal sources. Among the inmates undergoing the review will be Choi Eun-soon, the 77-year-old mother of first lady Kim Keon Hee.

Choi has been incarcerated at the Dongbu Detention Center in Songpa-gu, southern Seoul since July last year, when an appellate court confirmed her one-year prison sentence for falsifying her bank balance certificate to make it appear as though she had deposited 34.9 billion won ($25.4 million) in the account for a land purchase deal, as well as for purchasing property using other people's names.

She had applied for bail in September, claiming she was too ill to be detained during the trial, but the Supreme Court dismissed her request and confirmed the earlier ruling.

The South Korean law states that an inmate becomes eligible for a parole when they have served at least one-third of their sentence, but it is conventional to be allowed a preliminary parole review after serving at least half of one's sentence.

The ministry board had reviewed her case in February but did not grant her parole. An unsuccessful parole review conventionally excludes an inmate for the subsequent month's review, which is why Choi was not considered for parole in March.

Once cleared for a parole by the board, which is chaired by the vice minister of justice, an inmate has to be approved by the justice minister.

In the event that her case is approved by the ministry, Choi would be released on parole on April 30.