In South Korea, the ongoing political corruption scandal involving president Park Geun-Hye and under-indictment confidant Choi Soon-Sil has now reportedly ensnared local casino operator Grand Korea Leisure Company Limited.
Established in 2004 with a remit to help attract more tourists while enhancing “the international competitiveness” of the local casino industry, Grand Korea Leisure Company Limited is a subsidiary of the Korea Tourism Organization, which is affiliated with South Korea’s Ministry Of Culture, Sports And Tourism, and operates three foreigner-only Seven Luck Casino-branded properties inside international hotels in Seoul and Busan.
According to a report from The Korea Times newspaper, investigators from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office recently raided the Seoul headquarters of Grand Korea Leisure Company Limited and seized computers, documents and the mobile telephones of company officers.
The action follows the casino operator agreeing in May to financially support a wheelchair fencing team branded The Blue K after a paper company established by Choi, who is the daughter of shamanistic cult leader Choi Tae-Min. Investigators reportedly suspect that the detained 60-year-old used her influence with Park in order to pressure the Ministry Of Culture, Sports And Tourism to agree to the deal, which saw former fencing medalist and Park friend Ko Young-Tae appointed as the team’s manager.
The Korea Times reported that The Blue K consists of three athletes along with a coach, all on whom are financially supported by Grand Korea Leisure Company Limited, while its similarly maintained director, Park Sang-Min, is believed to be a long-time friend of Ko, who designs hand bags that have long been favored by Park, as the pair simultaneously attended the same school.
The newspaper reported that suspicions were first raised when Grand Korea Leisure Company Limited, which had long been considering whether to establish a disabled swimming or shooting team, suddenly switched its support to the sport of fencing.
At the same time as raiding Grand Korea Leisure Company Limited, investigators confiscated computers, documents and mobile telephones from the homes of Lee Jae-Man, the president’s former administrative affairs secretary, and An Bong-Geun, Park’s past public relations secretary. The pair was earlier forced to resign and could join similarly disgraced ex-personal presidential secretary Jeong Ho-Seong in being arrested after prosecutors discovered that the trio had shared a computer that was used to hand over state documents mainly consisting of draft presidential speeches and policies to Choi.