image

South Korea

Prosecutors seek arrest warrant for Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho

Cho Yang-ho joins wife and two daughters who were questioned by authorities since April on a variety of charges including tax evasions, obstruction of business and violating an immigration law

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 10:13pm

South Korean prosecutors on Monday sought an arrest warrant for the chairman of Korean Air on charges that include alleged embezzlement and failing to report overseas assets.

Cho Yang-ho has been under investigation over suspicion that he dodged over 50 billion won (US$45 million) worth of inheritance taxes.

He has also been accused of embezzling about 20 billion won from company funds by unfairly awarding business contracts to companies controlled by his family.

Cho joins his wife and two daughters who were questioned by authorities since April on a variety of charges including tax evasions, obstruction of business and violating an immigration law.

Prosecutors believe the 69-year-old Cho failed to report to tax authorities his overseas financial accounts known to exceed 1 billion won.

But prosecutors left out a charge regarding unpaid inheritance tax for now, saying further investigation was needed.

Cho was also accused of pocketing ill-gotten profits from running an illegal pharmacy near a university with ties to his business empire, and paying lawyer fees for his family with company funds.

He faces charges of embezzlement, breach of trust, fraud and violating laws regarding taxes and pharmaceutical affairs, according to Yonhap.

Cho is expected to be arraigned by a court later this week.

He was questioned for 15 hours by prosecutors last Thursday and has reportedly denied most of the charges.

The arrest warrant for Cho was sought some two weeks after the South Korean court rejected the request to arrest Lee Myung-hee, Cho’s wife, for multiple charges including assaulting employees and illegally hiring housekeepers.

Her lawyer reportedly claims she is suffering from anger control disorder.

Cho’s two daughters, who held management positions at Korean Air, became viral sensations for temper tantrums which were dubbed the “nut rage” and “water rage” scandals online.

The elder, Cho Hyun-ah, made global headlines in 2014 for kicking a cabin crew chief off a Korean Air plane for being served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than a bowl.

She later served a short prison sentence.

Earlier this year, her younger sister Cho Hyun-min was accused of throwing a drink at an advertising agency manager’s face in a fit of rage during a business meeting.

Their father issued a public apology over the “immature” behaviour of his offspring and removed his

Cho himself has already had brushes with the law, receiving a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion in 2000 and awaiting trial for diverting 30 billion won of company funds for renovating his own house in 2013 and 2014.

Yonhap, Agence France-Presse