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South Korea court refuses to issue arrest warrant for ex-professor in fake degree scandal

A South Korean court rejected a prosecutors’ request Tuesday for a warrant to arrest a former college professor accused of faking her Yale doctorate in an escalating scandal that forced a senior presidential aide to quit.

Prosecutors sought the warrant for Shin Jeong-ah for allegedly fabricating a doctorate degree and other documents from Yale and using them to become an art professor at Seoul’s Dongguk University in 2005 and a director of the Gwangju Biennale arts festival in July.

The Seoul Western District Court decided not to grant the request because Shin is not likely to destroy evidence or to flee, said Judge Roh Jong-hwan, a spokesman for the court.

Comments from prosecutors were not immediately available.

The scandal erupted in July when local media reported that Shin’s doctorate degree was fake.

Yale’s public affairs office confirmed that Shin never attended the university.

Shin, 35, has since been fired from the college and stripped of the directorship for the art festival.

She had gone to the United States, but returned home over the weekend to face the charges. Prosecutors took her into custody at the airport for questioning.

The scandal became more sensational after a senior presidential aide quit earlier this month amid suspicions that he was close to Shin and used his influence to pressure a former official with Shin’s college to not further pursue Shin’s fake degree problem.

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