A court has declared that former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui was not guilty of bribery.
The Seoul High Court made the ruling on Thursday, seven months after the Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court casting doubt over the reliability of testimony used against him.
In the first court trial, Kim was declared not guilty on the charge that he received 43 million won in bribes from a businessman between 2000 and 2011, but an appeals court reversed the verdict and sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Last June, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of the case, saying it cannot rule out the possibility that the businessman, identified only by his surname of Choi, could have changed his testimony that led to the conviction under duress from prosecutors.
The Seoul High Court said in the ruling that it is difficult to view Choi’s testimony as sufficiently credible to rule out reasonable suspicions, echoing the top court’s judgment.
Kim, who had also been suspected of taking 130 million won in bribes and escort services from another construction contractor named Yoon Jung-cheon between 2006 and 2008, was acquitted of the charges earlier. Those charges were not subject to the latest court hearings.