Updated : 2015-01-02 19:14
Daebo chairman charged with embezzlement, bribery
By Lee Kyung-min
Daebo Group Chairman Choi Dung-kyu has been indicted on charges of embezzling some 30 billion won ($27 million) in company funds in order to bribe defense officials, the prosecution said Friday.The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Choi created a slush fund by inflating construction costs and operating expenses.
Part of the money was allegedly provided to members of a screening committee for bidders of a 50 billion won ($45-million) project, initiated by the Ministry of Defense to build residences for officers in 2010.
Choi bribed the officials through three company executives, who were also detained Friday, prosecutors said.
The prosecution said it discovered the bribery case while conducting a broader investigation into corruption allegations surrounding defense procurement projects.
Prosecutors also sought an arrest warrant for a university professor also suspected of taking bribes from Daebo.
Daebo won the bid in 2011, and completed the construction of the residences in December 2013.
In September, investigators raided Choi’s home, the group headquarters, as well as its affiliate office, Daebo Communication & Systems, and seized computers and documents.
After reviewing the confiscated material, the prosecution detected the evidence to corroborate their suspicions, they added.
Choi is also charged with breach of trust. He spent 2.1 billion won ($ 1.9 million) in company funds to pay his income tax, as well as personal debts and those of his children, the prosecution added.
The group operates 36 rest areas on highways across the country. It had 1 trillion won ($ 900 billion) in sales last year via its various businesses, including construction, communications, distribution and leisure entities.