Arrests in nuclear plant parts case

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Arrests in nuclear plant parts case


BUSAN - Prosecutors investigating corruption and cheating in the supply of parts to the country’s nuclear power plants indicted officials of Kepco Engineering and Construction for accepting bribes in the form of free golf trips.

Kepco E&C provided certificates that showed parts for the power generators worked as they should. The free golf games were paid for by Saehan Total Engineering Provider, the parts performance evaluation agency.

Prosecutors also said they have uncovered falsified test certificates for more parts of the Singori reactors 3 and 4. At the end of May, four nuclear reactors were found to be using faulty control cables with falsified test certificates: Singori 3 and 4 and Sinwolseong 1 and 2. The investigation has centered around an alleged racket involving Kepco E&C, Saehan and the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP), which ran the alleged scam.

The eastern branch office of the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday they indicted a 49-year-old man surnamed Oh, chairman of Saehan, for giving free rounds of golf to three officials of Kepco E&C, including a 47-year-old manager surnamed Ryu.

The prosecution said Oh had offered a total of 10 free golf rounds, six overseas including Japan and Thailand and four domestic, worth 24 million won ($21,146) from October 2008 to last November.

Allegedly, the Kepco E&C officials used their own credit cards to pay for the golf and other expenses but were reimbursed in cash at airports. The Kepco E&C officials were indicted without detention.

Prosecutors added that Oh is suspected of embezzling about 133 million won from Saehan’s from June 2011 to April 2012. “We are investigating whether Oh used the embezzled funds to bribe the Kepco E&C officials,” a spokesman of the prosecution told the JoongAng Ilbo.

The prosecution also indicted a 35-year-old Saehan manager surnamed Lee, who is currently detained, after they found that six additional phony test certificates for position transmitters at the Singori reactors 3 and 4. It is checking whether a researcher from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute was involved.

A total of nine people, including a 47-year-old surnamed Song, a manager of the KHNP, have been arrested for alleged corruption and cheating in the supply of nuclear reactor parts as of yesterday. All of them were indicted by the prosecution as well.


BY WE SUNG-WOOK [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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