LONDON – Korean Air’s CEO, Cho Yang-Ho, has been indicted. According to South Korean prosecutors, he faces charges of embezzlement and breach of trust. This is another blow to the country’s largest airline.
Since Moon Jae-in became President of South Korea in 2017, there have been a number of big business heads in South Korea facing criminal charges. The CEO of Korean Air joins the list.
A Seoul Prosecutors office said, “Cho took a 19.6 billion won ($17 million) commission from 2003 through 2018 by setting up a trading company to broker aircraft equipment and in-flight duty-free goods purchase deals for Korean Air, causing the same amount of loss to the airline.”
Korean Air’s shares fell 0.6%, while the airline’s parent company, Hanjin Kal Corp’s shares fell by 2%, following the announcement of Cho Yang-Ho’s indictment.
On October 15, his youngest daughter Emily Cho was cleared of all charges relating to her supposedly throwing a drink at two people attending a business meeting in April 2018.
According to the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors office, “the attendees did not want to press charges.”
They also added, “resentment toward the perceived unchecked behaviour of some chaebol family members, leading to investigations of alleged wrongdoing by other family members.”
In 2014, the CEO’s eldest daughter, Heather Cho, was jailed because she demanded the Korean Air plane she was onboard, returned to the gate at New York-JFK, because of the way her Macadamia nuts were served in first class. Cho assaulted the flight attendant on duty, causing an investigation that ended her behind bars in Korea.
Korean Air has failed to comment on the matter at the time of writing.