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Korea’s Kangwon Land admits to widespread corruption in hiring scandal

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:25
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Korean casino operator Kangwon Land, which runs the only casino in the country where locals are allowed to play, is at the center of a major corruption scandal after admitting that the vast majority of its staff were hired through political and company connections.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Kangwon Land revealed that, from 2012 to 2013, it had hired 518 people of which 493 of them – around 95% – were appointed due to connections with various “influential people.”

“We apologize for committing a crime which would have been possible only in the 1960s or '70s,” the company said, adding that the man responsible was former CEO Choi Heung-jip, who oversaw the company between July 2011 and February 2014.

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

According to The Korea Times, those hired via their connections included a former intern of Secretary-General Rep. Kweon Seong-dong, whose Liberty Korea Party was the ruling party at the time.

The corruption was originally uncovered in 2015 but the case was quickly closed that same year with only Mr Choi and one other employee indicted. However, members of the current ruling Democratic Party are now calling for the investigation to be re-opened.

“This is an unimaginable corruption scandal involving a state-run company, which is funded by taxpayer money,” party spokesman Choi Suk told The Korea Times. “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.”

 

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