A would-be South Korean minister of justice facing allegations of hypocrisy and favoritism involving his family has held a marathon 11-hour news conference in a bid to salvage his sinking reputation and nomination.
A liberal darling with an impeccable resume, law professor Cho Kuk was named last month by South Korean President Moon ae-in, a former human rights lawyer, to lead the Ministry of Justice.
A smooth confirmation was expected at first, but the process became a partisan battleground with questions over his daughter’s schooling, and relatives’ investment in a private equity fund suspected of dubious operations.
Cho on Monday bowed in apology and sat down to face about 300 reporters at 3:30pm after a scheduled parliamentary confirmation hearing was canceled due to political disagreements over the witness list.
The news conference did not finish until 2:16am yesterday.
Cho was slammed for hypocrisy when it emerged he had sent his daughter to the kind of elite high school he had criticized and she had appeared to benefit from family connections.
Cho has said such schools led to a “more unfair society.”
Cho admitted his words and actions were inconsistent, telling reporters he had “caused disappointment to young people,” but he maintained he and his family had done “nothing illegal” and refused opposition demands he withdraw from consideration.
“While I am battered [with accusations], I will do everything I can [to be confirmed],” he said.
As the encounter stretched into the early hours — there was a dinner break and other pauses — the 54-year-old’s supporters circulated images of reporters looking drowsy and condemning those they felt had asked “cheap” questions.
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