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Corruption scandal hits South Korean state-run casino operator

Sout

Kangwon
h Korean state-run casino operator Kangwon Land has publicly announced a corruption scandal, admitting that the majority of people who landed a job within the company between 2012 and 2013 did so due to their connections with politicians and other influential people.

The firm stated that 493 people, which represents almost 95% of the total hired employees during those dates, ended up with jobs thanks to their relationships with politicians and former CEO Choi Heung-jip, reported the local paper The Korea Times.

The state-owned Kangwon Land apologised in an official statement this week, whilst it pointed the finger at Choi Heung-jip, who led the operator from July 2011 to February 2014 and hired a total of 518 people during that period.

"We apologise for committing a crime which would have been possible only in the 1960s or 70s," read the corporate statement.

"A thing of the past is tarnishing the image of Kangwon Land, which has been trying hard to improve its transparency in recent years," the company said. "It breaks the hearts of all employees and we are very sorry."

This scandal has also tainted one of South Korea’s major political parties. Among the irregular hires was a former intern of Rep. Kweon Seong-dong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, which was the ruling party when the misconduct occurred.

The current governing Democratic Party named it ‘Kangwon Land Gate’, urging the prosecution to reinvestigate the case as well as the politicians involved in it.

The Justice Party also criticised Kangwon Land, Kwon and the prosecution, who in 2015 closed the case after indicting only Choi and a human resources official. Party lawmakers alleged that the prosecution did not look deeply enough into the case.

"This is an unimaginable corruption scandal involving a state-run company, which is funded by taxpayer money," the party spokesman Choi Suk said.

"Kwon belonged to an Assembly committee that is supposed to oversee the company until early 2012.

"Other applicants didn't have the same chances of success (…) prosecutors should reopen the case to reveal the whole truth," he concluded.


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