Prosecutors are investigating whether a private airfield owned by a former South Korean air force official is connected with his indictment on charges of leaking military secrets to a U.S. defense conglomerate.
According to Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office on Monday, Kim Sang-tae owns a 40,000-square-meter private airfield in Yeoju-gun, Gyeonggi Province, worth about 7 billion won ($6.5 million).
A 7 billion won airfield privately owned by former South Korean Air Force Chief of Staff Kim Sang-tae in Yeoju-gun, Gyeonggi Province (Yonhap News)
Kim was indicted without detention with two other former branch officers after having received 2.5 billion won in commissions from Lockheed Martin on several occasions in 2009 and 2010, according to state prosecutors.
Prosecutors believe that the private airfield, which holds eight planes and runs a flight school, was operated and maintained using the money that Kim illicitly received through the years.
Kim was the Air Force chief of staff from 1982-84 and ran a local weapons brokerage firm from 1995 on.
Investigators suspect that on 12 separate occasions from 2004 to 2010, Kim offered confidential information regarding the Air Force’s weapons purchase plans and developments to U.S. defense firm, Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin claims that the firm did nothing wrong and is cooperating fully with the investigation, prosecutors said.
By Robert Lee (email@example.com