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Court to decide on arrest of Cho Kuk family fund operator

National 13:36 September 11, 2019

SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court is expected to decide whether to arrest the operator of a private equity fund the justice minister's family had invested in as part of a widening probe over corruption allegations surrounding the minister.

Justice Minister Cho Kuk, who was appointed Monday following a heated debate over allegations of his daughter's education and family fund investment, still faces an ongoing probe regarding his family.

Justice Minister Cho Kuk speaks to reporters after arriving for work at the government complex in Gwacheon, just south of Seoul, on Sept. 11, 2019, two days after his appointment. (Yonhap)

On Wednesday, the Seoul Central District Court held a hearing over the arrest warrant the prosecution has filed against the chief of the private equity firm Co-Link Private Equity and the head of local firm Wealth C&T, identified only as Choi, which received funding from Co-Link PE.

Lee Sang-hoon, the head of Co-Link PE, is suspected of embezzlement and destruction of evidence, as well as having exaggerated the amount of the investment fund he received from Cho's family.

The Co-Link PE chief is also alleged of falsely reporting to the financial regulator that the fund received 7.4 billion won (US$6.2 million) from Cho's family for investment, while the pledged amount was 1.05 billion won.

Choi is suspected of having embezzled about 1 billion won in company money.

Lee Sang-hoon, the head of private equity fund operator Co-Link PE, attends the hearing for an arrest warrant at the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul on Sept. 11, 2019. (Yonhap)

The private equity fund came into the spotlight on doubts that Wealth C&T, which Co-Link PE invested roughly 1.4 billion won in, saw its sales rise while Cho was serving as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs.

The justice minister has denied allegations that his family intervened in the investment. He has also announced that he will not take part in the ongoing probe and that he anticipates it to proceed under fair circumstances.

The justice minister oversees the prosecution in terms of human resources and administration.


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