A former chief executive at Kangwon Land Inc, the only casino operator in South Korea authorised to let locals gamble, has been formally arrested on charges of influence peddling while in post, reports the Korea Times.
Choi Heung-jip, who reportedly led the state-run enterprise between mid-2011 and early 2014, is accused of hiring favoured and sometimes underqualified people to work at the Kangwon Land casino resort (pictured) ahead of other job candidates, at the request of politicians or other people of note.
The news outlet said the Chuncheon district court in Kangwon province issued an arrest warrant on Thursday night for Mr Choi, citing a risk that evidence might otherwise be destroyed.
Among 5,200 people who reportedly applied for jobs at the company between 2012 and 2013, only 518 were successful, and it has been alleged the latter cohort owed their good fortune to having ties to powerful people, stated the newspaper.
It was also reported that 23 unsuccessful job candidates from that period have filed a damages suit against Kangwon Land, alleging the company used them to make the recruitment processes of the company seem fair when they were not.
In September the Korea Times had reported that alleged wrongdoing at the operating company of Kangwon Land – a property located in a remote upland area 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the national capital Seoul – related to events that began six years ago, with a public prosecution linked to the matter having taken place in 2015.
That year, prosecutors had reportedly closed a case after indicting only Mr Choi and a human resources official.
South Korea’s currently-governing Democratic Party had urged prosecutors to reinvestigate the case as well as the politicians allegedly involved in it. The opposition Justice Party had also criticised the handling of the earlier case and has claimed there was a cover up.
South Korea’s current main opposition, the Liberty Korea Party, was the governing party when the misconduct occurred, the Korea Times had previously reported.
On November 8, Kangwon Land said in a filing to the Korea Exchange that for the first nine months of 2017, the casino operator reported accumulated net income down by 8.1 percent from the prior-year period.
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"The ICAC in Hong Kong has the authority to detain people or to arrest people. But being detained or arrested – and actually being charged – are completely different things"
Japanese gaming entrepreneur