Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho has been summoned by prosecutors for questioning on Thursday on charges of tax evasion and embezzlement.
The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office said it has asked Cho to appear at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday for questioning, as part of an investigation that has been conducted after the National Tax Service filed for a complaint accusing Cho and his sister of avoiding inheritance tax of more than 50 billion won ($44.7 million) when they inherited overseas assets from their late father Cho Choong-hoon.
Cho would be the fourth member from his family to face questioning for criminal charges since the excesses of the chaebol family spilled over after his youngest daughter Cho Hyun-min threw bottled water to an ad agency executive. Her elder sister Cho Hyun-ah infamous for her “nut rage” also returned to prosecutors’ office on charges of smuggling luxury goods. Their mother and wife of the chairman also was called in by prosecutors after she was accused of regularly abusing housing staff.
Their abusive behaviors triggered public outrage and even candlelight vigil rallies from employees.
Prosecutors also believe that Cho and his family caused massive losses to Hanjin affiliates through illegal intra-group transactions that benefited the owner family, and embezzled corporate funds worth over 20 billion won. The prosecution last month raided the head office of Korean Air Lines, the group’s key affiliate, and the residences and offices of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Chairman Cho Nam-ho and Meritz Financial Group Chairman Cho Jung-ho, Cho’s younger brothers. They also searched Hanjin Group’s office building in central Seoul and other 10 locations related to the group.
Family woes continued to weigh heavily over Hanjin stocks.
On Wednesday, shares of Jin Air tumbled 5.93 percent to close at 24,600 won, and those of KAL 2.09 percent at 28,050 won. Hanjin KAL also plunged 5.34 percent to end at 16,850 won, and Hanjin Transportation slipped 1.38 percent to finish at 21,400 won.
By Moon Ji-woong and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]