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S. Korean gets jail term for faking degree

  International  -   POSTED: 2008/07/22 10:02

A South Korean court on Tuesday upheld an earlier ruling sentencing a former university professor to 18 months in jail for faking a Yale doctorate and embezzling museum funds.

The Seoul Western District Court said its appellate court affirmed its sentence against Shin Jeong-ah for using the fake degree to become an art history professor at a Seoul university and win financial sponsorship for a museum where she worked. The court handed down the first ruling in March.

Shin has seven days to appeal, according to court spokesman Kim Myung-su.

Seoul's Dongguk University also filed a suit against Yale in March seeking at least $50 million in damages, saying the American university wrongly confirmed that Shin earned a degree. Yale has called the matter an administrative error and apologized to Dongguk.

Shin made headlines last year when the fake degree scandal led to revelations that she had a romantic relationship with former presidential aide Byeon Yang-kyoon, who allegedly used his influence to help her get hired at Dongguk.

Byeon resigned as an aide to former President Roh Moo-hyun before being convicted of exercising his influence to provide state tax benefits to a Buddhist temple founded by a former Dongguk official who helped hire Shin as a professor.

In March, the district court handed Byeon a suspended one-year jail term and ordered him to conduct 160 hours of community service.


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