South Korean prosecutors swooped down on Kangwon Land casino over the weekend and seized documents that they claimed would help pin a former official allegedly involved in a hiring scandal.
The Korea Times reported that prosecutor raided Kangwon Land – the only casino at which South Korean citizens are legally permitted to gamble – to gather evidence against a former senior tourism ministry official accused of cronyism.Aside from Kangwon Land, the prosecutors also raided some offices of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at the Sejong Government Complex, as well as the homes and offices of three people.
The prosecutors only identified the ex-tourism ministry official as a certain “Kim,” who they claimed had a telephone conversation with Kangwon’s manager.
Records show that the official reportedly granted Kangwon Land’s petition for expansion in exchange for an assured employment of his four relatives in the gambling firm. The prosecutors are apparently looking for official documents with details of the 2013 expansion plan of the Kangwon Land property.
This is not the first time that Kangwon Land had been dragged into the hiring scandal.
In September, the state-owned casino operator issued an official statement admitting that 493 of the 518 people hired between July 2011 and February 2014 won their jobs at Kangwon Land primarily on the strength of their ties to politicians or other influential figures.
Kangwon Land pinned most of the blame on Choi Heung-jip, who was Kangwon Land’s CEO during the period in question. The scandal, which rocked the governing Democratic Party, was dubbed the “Kangwon Land Gate.”
Choi and a Kangwon Land human resources official were indicted in 2015 but current government members said the Liberty Korea Party, which was in power at the time of the scandal, pressured prosecutors to end their probe before the full depth of the shenanigans was exposed.
In December 2017, Heung-jip was arrested on charges of influence peddling in connection with the hiring of certain people at the request of politicians and local bigwigs, including Rep. Yeom Dong-yeol and Rep. KweonSeong-dong of the conservative Liberty Korea Party.