Ex-KAI head detained over alleged fraud, negligence

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 20, 2017 - 09:44
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2017 - 10:55
A former chief of  Korea Aerospace Industries Co. has been detained for questioning in a major corruption scandal, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office put Ha Seong-yong, former CEO of the nation's sole aircraft manufacturer, into custody on charges of accounting fraud and negligence. The prosecution has 48 hours before it decides whether to seek an arrest warrant from a court.

Prosecutors have been investigating KAI and its officials on allegations that they pocketed as much as 24 billion won ($21.2 million) by cooking the books regarding major supply deals, including the Surion utility helicopter. 

The photo, taken Sept. 19, 2017, captures Ha Seong-yong, former CEO of Korea Aerospace Industries Co., appearing at the prosecutors` office in southern Seoul to face questioning over corruption allegations. (Yonhap)

They are suspected of inflating the value of the proceeds from the sale of a light attack aircraft, the FA-50, to Iraq, in a deal worth some 3 trillion won.

Ha was questioned by the prosecution for hours on Tuesday over allegations that he was either involved in or knew about the array of irregularities.

The 66-year-old was also grilled over his alleged ownership of a KAI subcontractor under a borrowed name and that he gave jobs to some graduate staff at the request of influential people, including politicians.

He has apparently denied any wrongdoing, saying he had no knowledge of such irregularities and malpractices.

But based on the evidence and testimonies, prosecutors suspect Ha was regularly briefed on the situations. Ha stepped down soon after the investigation began in July.

They said they will file for an arrest warrant for Ha as early as Thursday on charges of breach of duty, fraud, embezzlement and obstruction of business. (Yonhap)