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Former Sejong Center exec indicted on bribery charges

Former managing director of Sejong Center for the Performing Art’s programming division was indicted Tuesday for receiving bribes from show production companies, according to the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office.

The former director, identified only as a Choi, 54, is accused of having received a total of 42 million won from Lim, a show production house head, since last September. In return, Lim received favorable treatment in dealings with Sejong Center.

Choi participated as a member of a committee that decided to allow the staging of the musical “Gwanghwamun Yeonga,” which Lim’s company produced, by giving it high points. He also made a request to the staff in charge not to receive the rental fee from the musical company.

Choi, who had worked at MBC ADCOM, Samsung Entertainment Group and served as head of an entertainment agency for a while, joined the Sejong Center in December 2009. The prosecutors raided Choi’s home on July 13 and his office on July 4, in connection with the bribery probe.

Competition to rent a theater or a hall at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts is stiff, as it has a high name value and credibility while Seoul has a limited number of performance venues. The decision to rent out the stage to a performance is taken by a jury of 10 officials from the center and from outside.

“Producers who lack financial ability are committing irregularities to stage a big-scale show. We will conduct further investigation into the systematic corruption in the showbiz industry,” said an official at the Prosecutors’ Office.

By Park Min-young  (claire@heraldcorp.com)
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