Furgate (Korean: 옷로비 사건 oslobi sageon), also known as the clothes bribery scandal, or the clothes-for-lobbying scandal, refers to the late-1990s corruption and scandal involving senior South Korean government figures and their wives, who took bribes and spent the proceeds on luxury items, primarily furs and jewelry.[1] The resulting scandal and trial that began in 1999 and ended in 2000.[2] Since the 1990s it has been described in South Korea as one of the largest scandals ever.[3] Estimated loss from bribery and corruption related to the Furgate scandal was approximately $165 million.[3]

Native name 옷로비 사건
DateLate 1990s
LocationSouth Korea
Also known asClothes bribery scandal
ParticipantsSenior South Korean government figures and their wives
Outcome$165 million loss

History edit

The scandal surfaced in South Korea in May 1999 while prosecutors were investigating corruption charges related to the Shin Dong Ah company. Luxury items were used by wives of businessmen under investigation for corruption to gain favors of the wives of senior Korean politicians and judicial officials, in order to have those wives persuade their husbands towards leniency.[1][2][4][5] The investigation into the scandal led to the first ever appointment of a special prosecutor in South Korea judicial history.[2][6] Two ministers resigned over the scandal;[7] a former Minister of Justice and a former presidential legal secretary were among the individuals arrested during the investigation.[6] Individuals sentenced in the scandal included the wives of a former unification minister and of a former prosecutor general, found guilty of perjury before the Korean parliament (National Assembly).[2][6]

Impact edit

The scandal was revealed in the midst of the Korean economic crisis related to the Asian financial crisis of 1997, and led to moral outrage.[1] The scandal damaged the reputation of Korean president Kim Dae-jung and his party (the Democratic Party), particularly when further information was revealed to suggest that the prosecutor office attempted to cover up the scandal.[1][4][5]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Blechinger, Verena (2000). "Report on Recent Bribery Scandals, 1996–2000" (PDF). Submitted for a TI Workshop on Corruption and Political Party Funding in la Pietra, Italy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Park, Sung-woo (10 November 2000). "3 Guilty in 'Furgate' Scandal". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b John Malcolm Dowling (2008). Future Perspectives on the Economic Development of Asia. World Scientific. p. 305. ISBN 978-981-270-609-6.
  4. ^ a b Heo, Uk; Roehrig, Terence (2010). South Korea since 1980. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 55–56. ISBN 9780521761161. OCLC 498419139.
  5. ^ a b Yoon, Young-Kwan (2000). "South Korea in 1999: Overcoming Cold War Legacies". Asian Survey. 40 (1): 164–171. doi:10.2307/3021230. JSTOR 3021230.
  6. ^ a b c Marcus, Noland (2000). Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas [ISBN not on www]. Peterson Institute. p. 235. ISBN 9780881325935.
  7. ^ Oh, Kongdan; Hassig, Ralph C. (16 September 2016). Korea Briefing: 2000-2001: First Steps Toward Reconciliation and Reunification. Routledge. p. 199. ISBN 9781315290751.