Church founder, son, accused of misusing funds

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Church founder, son, accused of misusing funds

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David Yonggi Cho

Twenty-nine elders of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Yeouido, western Seoul accused the church’s founder and his oldest son of dereliction of duty and misuse of church funds.

Founder and senior pastor David Yonggi Cho, 74, and his son Cho Hee-jun, who is a former chairman of the Kookmin Ilbo, were accused by the elders at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office Monday.

The office will assign the case to a prosecutor this morning.

In a written accusation, the 29 elders said: “Pastor Cho allowed his first son Hee-jun to take church money of over 23 billion won [$20 million] to invest in stocks, which is a clear breach of duty while he was serving as the head of the church conference.”

“The majority of church elders agreed on the [prosecution of Cho], but in order to swiftly carry it out, 29 elders decided to start it off,” they wrote.

The elders also said they had secured enough evidence against the elder Cho, and this case was “only the tip of the iceberg.”

They are also planning to request a ban on Cho and his family leaving the country, according to one of the elders who requested anonymity. He added: “Cho has received 1 billion won per month for the past five years and received 20 billion won in severance pay.”

Kim Hyung-ho, a pastor in charge of public relations at the Yoido Full Gospel Church, said: “The official position of the church is to make an announcement after reading the bill of indictment.”

He added: “If there are any false accusations, we’ll take firm legal action.”

Meanwhile, the Christian Council of Korea tried to stop the MBC’s “PD Diary” program from showing a documentary called “Scandal at the Yoido Full Gospel Church,” which was scheduled to be aired yesterday evening.

Pastor Kiel Ja-yeon, president of the council, and two more pastors visited MBC yesterday and requested that the program director stop the program from airing, saying the “content is based on the reports of a few people, who are against the church.”

According to Yoido Full Gospel Church, MBC rejected the request.


By Chae Yoon-kyung, Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

조용기 목사 배임 혐의 고발당해

여의도순복음교회 장로 29명 “교회 돈 230억 아들에게 줬다”

조용기(75) 서울 여의도순복음교회 원로목사와 장남 조희준(46) 전 국민일보 회장이 교회 장로들에 의해 배임 등 혐의로 고발됐다. 서울중앙지검은 20일 “여의도순복음교회 장로 29명이 전날 조 목사 부자에 대한 고발장을 제출해 수사에 착수했다”고 밝혔다. 장로들은 고발장에서 “조 목사가 교회 당회장으로 재직할 당시 수년간에 걸쳐 230여억원의 교회 재산이 장남 희준씨에게 넘어갔다”며 “희준씨의 주식투자 손실을 메워 주기 위해 휴지조각이 된 주식을 사주는 방식이었다”고 주장했다. 이들은 “조 목사가 아들의 주식투자금 보전 용도로 교회 돈을 쓴 것은 배임에 해당한다”며 “조 목사의 돈 관리와 관련해 이미 상당한 증거를 확보했고, 추가로 고발을 할 것”이라고 덧붙였다.

 이에 대해 조 목사 측은 자료를 통해 “조 목사는 교회 헌금을 개인적으로 유용한 적이 없다”며 “이(일부 장로의 고발)는 극소수 불만 세력의 음해에 의한 것으로 보인다”고 말했다. 조 목사 측은 또 “개인의 명예가 훼손되는 것은 감수할 수 있으나 여의도순복음교회, 나아가서는 한국 기독교의 명예가 실추되는 것은 용납할 수 없기 때문에 법적으로 대응할 수밖에 없게 됐다” 고 했다.

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