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 Iraq gov't will help Korea's fraud probe, UI Energy CEO accused of embezzling $41 million from Kurdistan gov't KRG

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Iraq gov't will help Korea's fraud probe, UI Energy CEO accused of embezzling $41 m from Kurdistan gov't  9.8.2013 
By Jung Min-ho - The Korea Times


 

 
Iraqi Ambassador to Korea Khalil Al-Mosawi (L) said “We will provide our utmost assistance for the investigation to satisfy the Korean government and Korean prosecutors,” Choi Kyu-sun (C), Iraqi president Jalal Talabani (R) and the leader of the PUK. Photo: Ekurd/koreatimes/AFP
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August 9, 2013

SEOUL,— The Iraqi government will cooperate with Korean prosecutors in their investigation of UI Energy CEO Choi Kyu-sun, accused of embezzling $41 million from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, according to the country’s ambassador.

“We will provide our utmost assistance for the investigation to satisfy the Korean government and Korean prosecutors,” Iraqi Ambassador to Korea Khalil Al-Mosawi told The Korea Times Monday.

Previously, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s office said that it contacted the Department of Foreign Relations at the KRG over a seven month period from November last year but did not receive a response.

Choi is charged with embezzling the money on July 21, but has not been detained because prosecutors had difficulties collecting enough evidence outside of Korea’s jurisdiction.

This gave rise to speculation that high-ranking officials in the KRG are protecting Choi because the KRG has not responded to requests from prosecutors.

 
 

Al-Mosawi said neither he nor his federal government received any request from prosecutors, noting that any such request should go through the Iraqi Embassy in Korea.

“Iraq and Korea now have a special relationship. Korea is a very important trade partner, so we don’t want a crook on either side,” he said. “For our own interest, we want any crooks out of the way.”

Although the case is within the KRG’s jurisdiction, the Iraqi central government and federal finance ministry,www.ekurd.net which is in charge of the nation’s total budget, can step in if it is necessary for a proper investigation to be conducted.

Prosecutors allege that Choi embezzled the money after UI Energy inked a contract to build a 306-mega-watt packaged power station (PPS) in Kurdistan in 2007. They believe the company pulled out of the PPS project before it was finished.

The investigation was initiated by the Security and Futures Commission in May last year after UI Energy omitted the money from its accounts, which resulted in the company being delisted by the Korea Exchange.

Prosecutors’ warrant of arrest was already rejected by the court twice due to a lack of evidence.

Choi was previously convicted in 2003 and sentenced to two years and six months in prison after a high-profile corruption scandal involving other people bidding to run the national sports lottery.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, koreatimes.co.kr
 

 

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