Uncategorized | 11:59 am | May 23, 2009 | By Yale Daily News

Did Shingate drive South Korea’s ex-president to kill himself?

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The authorities say that former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, overwhelmed by corruption allegations, committed suicide on Saturday by jumping to his death while hiking near his home.

This is the same Roh Moo-hyun to whom the romantic partner of Shin Jeong-ah, the Korean art curator who was convicted a year ago for faking a doctorate from Yale, served as a top aide.  Shin’s lover, Byeon Yang-kyoon, who had been chief presidential secretary for national policy, was convicted of using his influence to land Shin — with her Yale “degree” in hand — a professorship at Dongguk University.

Roh was (understandably) upset about the scandal, which sent his approval rating plummeting in 2007.

The former president has recently been embroiled in a wider corruption probe, focusing on his allegedly soliciting $6 million in bribes from a shoemaking magnate, which news reports have suggested was the primary motivation for Roh’s suicide. But Shingate certainly remained a black mark on his administration; a Los Angeles Times article last month about Roh’s political downfall highlighted the scandal as one of the factors contributing to his disgrace.

So far, the fallout from Shingate has included a year of jail time for Shin and a $50 million lawsuit by Dongguk University against Yale for its mistaken confirmation of Shin’s non-existent degree.  Can we now add the death of a president to that list?

(Photo: Choi Jae-Ho/Getty Images)

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