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Curiosity, Economics

Korean Air chief indicted for embezzlement, breach of trust

Hanjin Group and Korean Air Lines Chairman Cho Yang-ho was indicted for embezzlement, breach of trust and other charges on Monday without detention.


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Updated: October 15, 2018

The prosecution announced the result of its five-month probe into the 69-year-old business mogul, the father of the woman who was jailed in the notorious “nut rage” case.

Cho is suspected of causing 19.6 billion won ($17.3 million) in losses to the airline by having it pay commissions on purchases of flight equipment and tax-free goods to intermediary companies owned by his family from 2013 to May 2018, the prosecution said.

He was also found to have inflicted 4.1 billion won losses on a group affiliate by having it to buy company shares owned by his three children under unfair terms in 2014. The prosecution also said the company paid 2 billion won in wages to Cho’s mother and three acquaintances, who were not hired by the company, from 2009 to August 2018.

In addition, the chairman is accused of embezzling 1.7 billion won by using company funds to pay legal fees in cases involving him in 2015 and his daughter in 2014.

He was also found to have operated a pharmacy without certificates from 2010 to 2014 and have illegally taken 152 billion won from the state health insurance agency in medical care benefits.

But prosecutors did not charge him with evasion of inheritance taxes worth some 61 billion won over foreign assets because the statute of limitations had expired.

Cho’s family has been in trouble following revelations earlier this year that Cho’s wife and two daughters used physical and verbal violence against company staff and other people under their influence. His wife and the daughters have also undergone investigations.

Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, Hyun-min, a former executive of Korean Air, avoided charges of assaulting an ad agency official.

She has been under investigation over allegations that she threw a glass of water at an advertising company official during a business meeting in March as she was upset after the manager failed to answer her questions properly.

Hyun-min is the younger sister of Hyun-ah, who gained notoriety for the nut rage incident in 2014. She forced a plane back to the boarding gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport because she was upset with the way her nuts were served — in an unopened bag instead of on a plate.



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The Korea Herald
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