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Prosecution Raids Korean Air Headquarters over Embezzlement Allegations
Arrest Warrant Sought for Hanjin Chairman's Wife
Prosecution Raids Korean Air Headquarters over Embezzlement Allegations
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • May 31, 2018, 18:18
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Lee Myung-hee
Lee Myung-hee, the wife of Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang-ho, answers questions from reporters after being investigated by the prosecution on May 30.

The investigation over Hanjin Group onwer family members, which was sparked by the “water rage” of Cho Hyun-min, a former senior vice-president of Korean Air Lines, is getting more and more intense. The prosecution raided the headquarters of Korean Air Lines on May 31 over the allegations of inheritance tax evasion, embezzlement, and obstruction of duty against Cho Yang-ho, Hanjin Group chairman. On the same day, the police requested an arrest warrant for Lee Myung-hee, the chairman’s wife and director of the Ilwoo Foundation on multiple assault and abuse allegations.

The prosecution raided the finance headquarters of Korean Air in Gangseo-gu, Seoul. It came after the Seoul Regional Tax Office filed a lawsuit against the Hanjin chairman on April 30 on charges of 50 billion won tax evasion.

The Seoul Regional Tax Office, which has been conducting tax audits on the Hanjin owner family, has found that chairman Cho's three siblings have reported inheritance in the process of inheriting the assets of their late grandfather and group founder Cho Joong-hoon.

The prosecution plans to summon them for investigation as soon as a scrutiny of the confiscated goods is completed. The prosecution has searched more than 10 places including the Hanjin Building, other group buildings such as Jungseok Enterprise in Joong-gu, Seoul, the house of Cho Nam-ho, chairman of Hanjin Heavy Industries Holdings, and Cho Jung-ho, chairman of the Meritz Financial Group. Cho Nam-ho and Cho Jung-ho are younger brothers of Cho Yang-ho. During the investigation, the prosecution found suspicious funds flows and reportedly started investigations on slush funds.

Prosecutors have also detected evidence that the Hanjin chairman embezzled company money in the process of giving work to Korean Air affiliates. The prosecution has also searched more than 10 places including duty-free brokers, Trion Trading and Miho International, on May 25, noticing that the members of the Cho's family took the unfair advantage in the way of collecting tolls through Trion Trading and Miho International. The prosecution estimates that the embezzlement and misappropriation of Hanjin owner family amounts to over 20 billion won.

Meanwhile the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said on May 31 that it had filed an arrest warrant for Lee Myung-hee, director of Illwo Foundation, on charges of special assault. According to the police, Lee is alleged to have committed 24 crimes against 11 victims from August 2011 to March 2018.

The charges applied to Lee include special injury, special assault, habitual violence, obstruction of business, and insult.

The police explained the background of filing a warrant application, saying, "Since Lee is simply denying allegations despite the gravity of the crimes, there is a chance of destroying evidence.”

According to the police, Lee is accused of throwing scissors that are used in cutting branches at her Pyeongchang-dong house, Seoul, kicking her driver's legs on the Gugi-dong road in Seoul and inflicting injuries that require two weeks of treatment. Lee was also suspected of assaulting landscape architects at the Incheon Hyatt Hotel construction site and interfering with the work by kicking construction materials.