SK chief Chey reportedly denies involvement in impeached president's scandal

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Mar 19, 2017 - 20:52
  • Updated : Mar 20, 2017 - 10:32

The chairman of South Korea's third largest conglomerate SK Group reportedly denied allegations of his involvement in a corruption scandal that led to the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye, according to informed officials Sunday.

Chey Tae-won, SK Group chairman, left the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office at 3:30 a.m. after being questioned for over 13 hours as a witness to the sweeping influence-peddling case.

Chey Tae-won, chairman of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group, appears at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul to undergo questioning over a corruption scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil on March 18, 2017. (Yonhap)

The 56-year-old tycoon was quizzed over suspicions that his group donated large sums of money in 2015 to two nonprofit organizations controlled by the former president's longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, in return for a presidential pardon for Chey, who was then serving a prison term for embezzlement and other charges.

He was given a presidential pardon that year. The chairman reportedly denied all allegations of him donating money in exchange for his pardon.

Chey's latest summons came as the prosecution is accelerating a bribery investigation into the former president after the Constitutional Court dismissed her on March 10.

The prosecution is suspecting that local conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics Co., bribed Choi, and in effect Park, through the donations. Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was arrested in February on charges of bribery and embezzlement.

In its historic ruling, the court noted Park had systematically and continuously aided her friend in the latter's pursuit of personal gain. (Yonhap)