Gwangju government raided in forgery fiasco

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Gwangju government raided in forgery fiasco

The prosecution yesterday raided the Gwangju Metropolitan Government as it investigates allegations the mayor, Kang Un-tae, forged the signatures of key government officials in the city’s successful bid for the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Also searched was a Seoul branch of Lausanne, Switzerland-based consulting firm TSE Consulting, which worked with Gwangju as it sought to win the right to host the international swimming competition. The agency is suspected of actually forging the signatures, upon the request of the city government, on documents claiming to offer financial support of $100 million.

The search and seizure operation came after the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism asked the Gwangju District Prosecutors’ Office to investigate the forgeries on Monday.

A cloud has been cast over the city’s winning bid with the central government’s announcement that it will not be offering financial support as a result of the scandal, and the subsequent investigation.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Culture revealed that the signatures of former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and former Culture Minister Choi Gwang-sik had been forged on pledges of financial support for the games. The bombshell came just hours before the FINA announcement that Gwangju had won.

The phony document said the central government would offer the same kind of financial support to the FINA event as it did for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics held in Daegu.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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