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Former S. Korean diplomat in Russia under probe over embezzlement

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Published : Oct. 28, 2011 - 15:30

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A former senior South Korean diplomat in Russia has been under a probe by prosecutors on suspicion of embezzling tens of millions of won of the government's budget, the Seoul prosecution and the culture ministry said on Friday.

Ryu Min, 53, is suspected of pocketing about US$51,714 between 2008 and March this year when he worked as a councilor in charge of public relations at the South Korean Embassy in Russia and later as the chief of the Korean Cultural Center in the country, according to the ministry.

Yoo created the slush fund by overstating the pay of temporary workers he hired and misappropriating part of the government budget for promoting the Korean culture abroad, it said.

Prosecutors said they questioned him over the allegations on Wednesday and plan to put him to legal punishment if the allegations are confirmed true.

In April, the ministry, tipped off from other officials in the cultural center, conducted an on-site probe into the corruption case and reported Yoo to the prosecution for a criminal investigation a month later.

Yoo, while being questioned by prosecutors, admitted to creating a slush fund but claimed to have spent the money for public purposes, not private purposes, according to prosecution sources.

His case was the latest in a series of gossip involving former and incumbent Korean diplomats abroad.

Earlier this month, the foreign ministry said its Germany-based senior diplomat had been investigated by German police on suspicions of causing a car accident under the influence of alcohol in Berlin. His identity was not released by the ministry, but local newspapers later identified him as the incumbent chief of the Korean Cultural Center in the European country.

The diplomat insisted that his car's sudden start caused the accident, but an officer who was on the scene claimed to detect the odor of alcohol on him, according to the ministry.

In a press briefing, Seo Kang-soo, chief of the Korean Culture and Information Service in charge of the Korean cultural centers, pledged efforts to prevent any recurrence of similar cases.

"We'll do our best to make sure such an incident never happens again by thoroughly supervising the overall management of Korean cultural centers in foreign countries," Seo said. (Yonhap News)

 

<한글 기사>

전 주러 한국문화원장 횡령 혐의 수사

서울중앙지검 외사부(이흥락 부장검사)는 28일 러시아 주재 한국공관 예산 수천만원을 횡령한 혐의(업무상 횡령)로 전 주러 한국문 화원장 유모(53)씨를 수사 중이라고 28일 밝혔다.

경찰에 따르면 유씨는 2008년부터 올해 초까지 주러 한국문화원장으로 근무하면 서 임시직원의 급여를 부풀려 신고하는 등의 방법으로 약 6천만원의 문화원 예산을 횡령한 혐의를 받고 있다.

검찰은 지난 26일 유씨를 소환해 조사했으며 횡령 혐의가 확인되면 사법처리할 방침이다.

문화체육관광부는 지난 4월 유씨의 비리 의혹과 관련해 제보가 잇따르자 그를 검찰에 수사 의뢰했다.