Hanjin group chief put under questioning over illegal house remodeling

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2017-09-19 11:38 Updated : 2017-09-19 11:38
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[Photo by Yoo Dae-gil = dbeorlf123@ajunews.com]

Hanjin Group patriarch Cho Yang-ho, who also controls South Korea's flag carrier, Kora Air Lines, was put under police questioning over alleged misappropriation of company funds to renovate his residence.

The interrogation was related to a probe that began in July into the construction of a hotel near an international airport west of Seoul and the remodeling of Cho's Seoul home between May 2013 and August 2014.

A 73-year-old senior advisor at Korean Air has been arrested and indicted on charges of embezzlement. He was accused of siphoning off some three billion won (2.6 million US dollars) of company funds. Police have summoned Cho and his wife, Lee Myung-hee, for questioning.

In June, Cho's 41-year-old son, Cho won-tae, gave up executive posts at Korean Air and other affiliates in a move aimed at reforming the group that followed the liquidation of Hanjin Shipping, a key affiliate which used to be South Korea's largest container carrier.

Hanjin Shipping filed for court receivership last year that triggered chaos in its global cargo traffic. The company was formally abandoned in February under a sweeping government-led program to restructure South Korea's ailing shipping and shipbuilding sectors.

South Korea's family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol, have been on guard since Kim Sang-jo, designated by President Moon Jae-in as an advance guard for reforming chaebol, took office as chairman of the Fair Trade Commission, a powerful state anti-trust watchdog.  Moon and Kim have vowed to stop chaebol's unfair business activities.