Authorities in Jeju have confirmed the recovery of KRW13.4 billion (US$12.0 million) in cash said to have been stolen from a safe at Jeju Shinhwa World’s Landing Casino, but there is still no guarantee Landing will see any of its missing money again.
According to a report by Seoul’s Hankook Ilbo, the cash in question remains deposited in a bank designated by the National Police Agency but authorities are having trouble confirming the identity of its owner.
The case originally came to light in early January when parent company Landing International Development Limited announced it had discovered KRW14.56 billion (US$13.4 million) missing from a safe in a VIP room at the casino, with the female employee in charge of the safe unable to be contacted.
Despite having later arresting and charged the 50-year-old Malaysian woman in question with embezzlement, police said this week they are still unable to clarify the source of the funds because one of the suspects also claimed ownership during a broadcast interview in January – shortly after the original crime occurred.
Two accomplices, referred to as Mr A and Mr B, have since fled the country with police insisting the investigation has been halted while they summon the pair back to Korea. Interpol has subsequently issued a red warrant at the request of Jeju officials but are yet to track down the pair.
The Hankook Ilbo reports that Landing Casino has submitted documents to prove it is the rightful owner of the money in question, however it may have trouble doing so if the suspects remain on the run.
“Only when the main criminals who fled abroad are summoned, the full picture of the case will be revealed and the owner of the money will also be covered,” a police official said.
As previously reported by IAG, there is no guarantee Landing will ever see the money again.
Under South Korea’s Article 8 of the Act on the Concealment of Crime Profits and Punishment Act, all criminal proceeds and property derived from crime, profits related to criminal activities, and property obtained from compensation for criminal activities are subject to confiscation. They can only be returned to the claimant pending the judgement of the court following prosecution of the accused, but if identified as criminal funds are to be redirected to the national treasury instead.
A similar situation occurred in 2011 when KRW11 billion (US$9.8 million) was found buried under a garlic field and eventually confiscated after being found to be the proceeds of an internet gambling operation.