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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Corruption is Everywhere - In China and Especially South Korea

Anbang founder Wu Xiaohui sentenced
to 18 years for fraud
By Danielle Haynes (UPI)

A Shanghai court on Thursday sentenced Wu Xiaohui, founder of Anbang Insurance Group, to 18 years in prison for fraud and abuse of power.

The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court also confiscated $1.65 billion of Wu's assets as part of the Chinese government's efforts to crack down on fraud and abuse of power.

The sentence came after a one-day trial in March in which Wu admitted he fraudulently raised billions of dollars from investors. Authorities first detained Wu last June.

The court said Wu instructed the falsification of documents and personally embezzled some of the premiums from the company. The government seized the privately held company in February and was expected to oversee Anbang for at least a year until new investors are found.

The seizure was China's largest takeover of a privately owned company.

Anbang has $315 billion in assets and is among the highest-profile Chinese companies in international investments. It purchased New York City's iconic Waldorf-Astoria in 2014.

A year ago, the company was in talks to invest in a company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser.

Korean Air chairman quits top post at Jin Air
By Sara Shayanian (UPI) 

The chairman of Korean Air, Cho Yang-ho, stepped down from his role as CEO of Jin Air on Thursday amid numerous investigations involving his family.

"The CEO change was made to strengthen the responsibility and management structure of Jin Air," Jin Air said in a statement. "We have newly appointed Kwon Hyuk-min as the new CEO, after the resignation of Cho Yang-ho, but Cho will remain as a director."

Jin Air is the budget unit of Korean Air Lines Co., and both companies are part of Hanjin, a transportation and logistics conglomerate.

Cho resigned after a series of incidents involving the chairman's family that led to allegations of physical and verbal abuse as well as tax evasion and smuggling.

Cho Hyun-min, one of the chairman's daughters and a Korean Air executive, was suspended in April during a police investigation into claims she yelled and threw water at a manager of a marketing firm during a business meeting.

The chairman's other daughter, Cho Hyun-ah, was previously involved in the so-called "nut rage" scandal in 2014. She ordered a Korean Air plane to return to the gate and made a flight attendant kneel and beg for forgiveness after serving a bag of nuts in a package instead of on a plate.

Investigators have also launched a probe into the chairman's wife -- Lee Myung-hee -- over alleged physical and verbal abuse.

Lee allegedly slapped the face of a construction crew worker hired to remodel her Seoul residence in 2013 while forcing the worker to kneel down. The worker allegedly avoided being hit by moving his head backward, and Lee yelled at the worker and kicked his knee. She is also accused of verbally insulting an employee at the Incheon-based Grand Hyatt hotel.

In April, South Korean customs services raided Korean Air's headquarters over suspicions that the chairman's family members were sneaking luxury goods into South Korea without paying duties.

Good grief! What a family!

South Korea police seize flash drive linked to
online comment scandal
By Elizabeth Shim (UPI)

South Korea’s opposition party conservatives protest an online comment-rigging scandal that implicates the ruling Democratic Party. File Photo by Yonhap
South Korea police have begun investigations into the "Druking" online comment-rigging scandal, centered on a South Korean blogger who interfered in online comments during the presidential race of 2017.

The blogger with the surname Kim is suspected of interfering in online news articles through commentary. Seoul police obtained a flash drive containing fake comments on more than 90,000 news reports, Newsis reported Wednesday.

Data show the blogger and his team of operatives interfered with manipulative comments from October 2016 to March 2017, when South Korea was caught in the grip of a presidential scandal that culminated in the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Park's impeachment led to snap elections and the election of current President Moon Jae-in.

The suspect has been linked to Moon's ruling Democratic Party, and Yonhap reported Tuesday the blogger delivered $4,600 to a Moon aide in return for information on government jobs.

South Korea police also requested a warrant for the suspect's arrest, but a local court dismissed the request, according to Newsis.

"Whether or not there was an illegal rigging of online comments is something we will confirm going forward," a police source told the news service.

Actions taken by Kim, whose nickname "Druking," is a combination of the words druid and king, extended well beyond the online world.

Local news service No Cut News reported Wednesday police said Kim is linked to the November 2016 payment of about $25,000 to a South Korean lawmaker in the Democratic Party.

Rep. Kim Kyung-soo was allegedly paid the sum of money when he was elected a prospective candidate for a governorship in strategically important Gyeonggi Province.

Conservative politician Nam Kyung-pil is the current governor.

Trump's lawyer got $150K from a Korean weapons company for "accounting" expertise

By Greg Walters 

President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has received a lot of attention this week for secretly accepting payments from a firm linked to Russian oligarch, AT&T and a Swiss healthcare company — all while his boss was in the White House.

But he also had another major client: a massive South Korean weapons-maker mired in corruption scandals that also happens to be up for a $16 billion contract with the U.S. Air Force.

The company, known as Korean Aerospace Industries, dropped Cohen $150,000, supposedly for his expertise around U.S. accounting issues, even though Cohen has not generally worked as an accountant. The payment arrived in November 2017, the same month President Trump visited South Korea for talks with President Moon Jae-in.

“Why a military aerospace company would want ‘accounting advice’ from a real estate consulting firm run by a lawyer is indeed rather suspicious,” said Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Global Arms Business and Corruption program at the World Peace Foundation in Massachusetts.