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Prosecutors Investigating Shin’s Overseas Accounts

Posted October. 06, 2007 05:39,   


The special investigation team of the Seoul Western District Prosecutors` Office, which is investigating the “Shin Jeong-ah Gate” scandal, announced that it has been tracing the overseas bank account records of former professor and curator Shin Jeong-ah, 35, who is suspected of misappropriating hundreds of millions of won in corporate donations for Sungkok Art Museum where she worked as curator between 2004 and 2006. The prosecution believes that Shin illegally took large sums of money and deposited the money in overseas bank accounts.

Lead Prosecutor Gu Bon-min said, “We obtained listing of all the bank accounts at home and abroad opened by Shin. We also believe that it is highly likely Shin Jeong-ah put some of her gallery funds into her overseas accounts.” The prosecution asked officials in New York to secure Shin’s detailed account statements after failing to obtain those documents through Shin herself.

Tracing overseas bank accounts is usually pursued through the cooperation with foreign investigation organizations without a warrant from the Korean law enforcement agency. The high court launched the similar investigation last year when it tracked down a bank account in Hong Kong of Ha Joeng-seon, president of Hyundai Marine Fire Insurance, who was suspected of receiving 1.05 million dollars in the Lone Star scandal.

One prosecution source said, “Shin refused to submit her overseas bank statements, saying she only has 20 to 30 million won left. But if we find evidence that she is lying, that could be used as evidence against her.

In addition, prosecutors also launched a probe into the computer data received from the high court that they secured in a raid on the office of the financial accounts of Dongguk University. The prosecution is planning to look into allegations that Byeon Yang-gyun, the former chief presidential secretary for national policy who had inappropriate relationship with Shin, offered preferential budgetary treatment to Dongguk University when he was in office.

Meanwhile, police are considering summoning former Ssangyong Group chairman Kim Seok-won, husband of Park Moon-soon and the director of the art museum, to question him about 6.2 billion won in cash and checks which were found at Park`s house. Former chairman Kim is known to be in Japan and is expected to return to Korea within the week.

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