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(LEAD) First lady cleared of graft suspicions involving her former art exhibition firm

All News 17:11 March 02, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest info)

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors have cleared first lady Kim Keon Hee of graft suspicions involving three art exhibitions hosted by her former cultural content company, officials said Thursday.

Kim had been under graft suspicions that about a dozen conglomerates sponsored three art exhibitions organized by her former company, Covana Contents, allegedly because President Yoon Suk Yeol was serving in a high-level prosecution position at that time.

Yoon was heading the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office while one of the art exhibitions on Swiss sculpture Alberto Giacometti was held in 2018.

He was nominated as chief prosecutor around the time another exhibition involving fauvism was held in 2019.

Ten conglomerates sponsored the Alberto Giacometti show, while the second exhibition drew sponsorship from 17 conglomerates. The other exhibition in 2015 on American painter Mark Rothko was sponsored by nine.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office recently decided not to indict Kim on graft charges connected to the two cases due to lack of evidence, prosecution officials said.

Prosecutors also cleared Yoon of similar suspicions.

Prosecutors questioned Kim via written questionnaires, and investigated Covana and the suspected conglomerates but found no irregularities, according to the officials.

Prosecutors had previously cleared similar suspicions raised against Kim over another art exhibition organized by Covana in 2016.

The latest decision by the prosecution left Kim cleared of all charges in connection with Covana where she stepped down as head last year.


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