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Choi Soon-sil scandal spills over into sports realm

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:53 pm
by MipoFanatic
Accusations of major embezzlement from non-profit sports organisations by the president's right-hand woman (which Hyundai, Samsung, POSCO and SK were all allegedly pressured to donate to). No wonder Suwon Bluewings don't receive much dosh from Samsung anymore. ;-)

Also accusations of the sacking of sports judges due to nepotism. Grab your popcorn!

Korea Times (Oct 21):

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Prosecutors have launched an investigation into two foundations accused of having been used as fundraising vehicles by influence peddlers close to President Park Geun-hye.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office, Friday, it has questioned current and former officials of the Mir and K-Sports foundations, which are suspected of being used for this purpose by Park's aides, including her long-time confidant Choi Soon-sil.


Chung Tong-gu, the first chairman of the K-Sports Foundation, was among the people who were summoned for questioning. He said he left the position after less than a month because there was nothing he could do.

"Why would I stay in the foundation where I can't do anything? So I left," he was quoted as saying. "I just could not get control. You know what I'm talking about."


Choi is suspected of using the money to run shady businesses in Korea and Germany, which is expected to be another focus of the investigation.

Under the pretext of promoting Korean culture and sports to the world, the Mir and K-Sports foundations were established in October 2015 and January this year, respectively.

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), the lobbying arm for conglomerates, raised about 80 billion won ($72 million) for the foundations in just two months; and it took a single day to get approval for their establishment from the ministry. Such a process usually takes several weeks at least.

This is why many speculate that Cheong Wa Dae is behind the foundations. An Chong-bum, President Park's senior secretary for policy coordination, has been accused of playing a key role in pressuring the FKI to raise the money for them.

While An keeps insisting that it was voluntary donations, Bahk Byong-won, chairman of the Korea Employers' Federation, claims otherwise, saying the government "twisted the arms" of big firms to do so.

Korea Exposé:

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Ms. Choi’s previously hidden power over the president suddenly came under intense scrutiny when investigations began into two charitable foundations, Mir and K-Sport, both created in the past one year. In the case of Mir, the Ministry of Culture and Sports approved its establishment overnight; normally it takes a month. The country’s top companies donated to them nearly 80 billion KRW through the Korea Federation of Industries, the leading business lobby.

The problem is that these entities were reportedly controlled by Ms. Choi, whose intimates filled the key positions. Some of the money the foundations raised was funneled to at least one company Ms. Choi owns with her daughter in Germany. (The latest tally from the German media is that Ms. Choi owns 14 ghost companies in that country.) This firm bought a hotel near Frankfurt, conveniently close to where Ms. Choi’s daughter, an equestrian gold medalist at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, was training until recently and owns a house.

Resembling a princess of some faraway despotic kingdom is this twenty-year-old, Chung Yoo-ra. She lost the top spot at a national championship three years ago, and the police investigated the judges for bias. Two Culture and Sports officials, who subsequently looked into the matter but blamed the fracas on both Ms. Chung and the equestrian association that held the event, were demoted. Ms. Chung became a student at a prestigious South Korean women’s university, admitted under questionable circumstances after the university changed its admission criteria, and her attendance record is spotty to say the least. (The university president resigned on Oct. 20 over the allegations surrounding Ms. Chung.)

Early this year, European sources reported that the South Korean electronics giant Samsung even bought a magnificent champion horse, Vitana V, this year for Ms. Chung’s use.

JoongAng Ilbo:

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The K-Sports Foundation may have pressured Lotte Group to provide it additional funding by taking advantage of the vulnerable position the group was situated in at the time.

Lotte Group confirmed Thursday that it gave an additional 7 billion won ($6.1 million) to the foundation in May through six of its affiliates. The group had already contributed 1.7 billion won to the foundation in January, along with a dozen other conglomerates that helped the problematic foundation raise 28.8 billion won just one week after its launch.

In May, when the group coughed up 7 billion won to the scandal-ridden foundation - most of which reportedly went to the president’s longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil - Lotte was in a fierce power struggle between the two heir brothers over group succession and was facing investigation over alleged business malpractices.

The Hankyoreh Newspaper on Thursday reported that Choi and An Chong-bum, the senior presidential secretary, strong-armed the group into donating, based on an internal document the newspaper obtained exclusively.

The document, which dates back to March 28, details the agreement made between Lotte Group and the foundation on how much the conglomerate could fund projects claiming to support domestic sports talents by constructing training centers.

Al Jazeera:

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[Choi Soon-sil] faces charges of using her links with [President] Park to compel major companies such as Samsung into donating large sums to two non-profit foundations she set up.

Arirang News (VIDEO):

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Prosecutors find evidence Choi Soon-sil received cash from Samsung Group

Nikkei Asian Review:

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If corporations admit they expected some kind of reward from the government in return for their contributions, those gifts may violate laws against graft. Among those who contributed to the foundations are steelmaker Posco, and the Samsung, SK, and Lotte conglomerates. They are all bracing for potential investigations.

Wall Street Journal:

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At the center of the current scandal is Choi Soon-sil, the leader of the Church of Eternal Life and a confidante of the President for four decades. Last year she set up the Mir and K-Sports Foundations to promote Korean culture overseas. Within months they raised $72 million from corporate donors, allegedly with the help of the Culture Ministry and the Federation of Korean Industries.

Critics say that the foundations were intended to fund Ms. Park’s retirement activities. Investigators are probing whether Ms. Choi used some of the funds to buy homes in Germany. Both women deny the accusations.


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When investigators stormed offices of the two foundations presumably controlled by Choi, the offices were almost empty, TV footage showed. All of computers in the K-Sports foundation were reportedly replaced, while email accounts of the employees were closed.

Korea Times (Oct 31):

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Ko Young-tae, 40, a former host bar worker who had a relationship with Choi ... has managed The Blue K and Widec Sports, paper companies Choi set up in Korea and Germany allegedly to funnel money away from the Mir and K-Sports foundations.


Cha Eun-taek, a commercial director and close acquaintance of Choi ... led many of the culture ministry's key initiatives, including the creation of a nationwide exercise routine. Cha was alleged to have influenced the culture ministry when the Korea Institute of Sports Science had already completed "Korea calisthenics" over two years at a cost of 200 million won, to make a new routine called "Neulpum calisthenics" choreographed by the celebrity fitness trainer.

On her blog Saturday, Jung revealed that she had been instructed by a culture ministry official to lie about her involvement in the project. She said the ministry "told me to say that I was the one who came up with the idea (of the new exercise routine) if anyone interviewed me."

Korea Times (Oct 26):

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Prosecutors also raided the office of The Blue K, a paper company set up by Choi. She is thought to have used it to funnel money from the Mir and K-Sports foundations without leaving a trace.

She is also suspected of moving all the money eventually to other paper companies she set up in Germany. According to Taunus Zeitung, a German local media outlet, there are 15 companies under her name, including Widec Sports.


In a surprise statement at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday, President Park partly admitted that Choi was secretly involved in state affairs, including editing her speeches in the early years of her presidency. But evidence indicates that Choi's intervention behind the curtain may have continued for far longer.

South China Morning Post:

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...the scandal worsened when the President was shown to have fired eight senior officials of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism after Choi’s daughter won second place in an equestrian competition in 2013 and subsequently filed a complaint demanding that the judges at the event be investigated. Park also called a cabinet meeting and ordered an audit of the sports community – particularly the Korean Equestrian Foundation – after which she fired the eight officials. It was later revealed that Choi had the notes for the cabinet meeting saved on her computer in advance, with emphasis on investigating equestrian groups.

Re: Choi Soon-sil scandal spills over into sports realm

Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:31 am
by MipoFanatic
Biggest donors allegedly were Hyundai Motor, SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics.

Jeonbuk Shamans FC? :wink:

Korea Times (Nov 1):

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...12 companies gave out money to the foundations although they logged deficits last year, raising speculations about whether their donations were voluntary as claimed by foundation officials.

Hyundai Motor Co. donated the biggest amount of 6.88 billion won, followed by SK Hynix Co. with 6.8 billion won and Samsung Electronics Co. with 6 billion won.

Some companies didn't record the donations in their regulatory briefings, sparking questions over the source of the funds and violation of accounting rules.

Re: Choi Soon-sil scandal spills over into sports realm

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:30 pm
by Holyjoe
There are now reported links into the K-Pop industry as well... if it turns out she had any sort of influence over the wonderful world of Korean football buses then she'll have brought down absolutely everything that this forum holds dear.

Re: Choi Soon-sil scandal spills over into sports realm

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:38 am
by Alex43
the gov built kpop for tourism and world promotion of kimchi... that is no surprise