KFF committed 36 transgressions

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KFF committed 36 transgressions

The Korea Freedom Federation (KFF), a state-funded far-right civic group, has committed a total of 36 illegal acts, including the embezzlement of government funds from 2010 through 2012, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration reported yesterday.

In disclosing the results of its three-week special audit into the conservative group, the ministry said the KFF had improperly spent 138 million won ($130,134) of government subsidies on business projects without government approval. Due to the group’s unsupervised and reckless business management, the ministry said, the KFF has generated 10.8 billion won in net loss over the past five years.

The anti-Pyongyang group, founded in 1954 under the banner of Communism, has a yearly budget of nearly 10 billion won and currently has 1.5 million members. The group receives an annual government subsidy of more than 1 billion won.

The ministry also discovered that a former chairman and senior members of the KFF had misappropriated funds from the organization’s budget - some of which came from taxpayers’ money - for personal use.

“A former chairman and five other high-ranking KFF members misappropriated the group’s funds amounting to 193 million won for personal use for up to 133 days,” the ministry stated in a press release yesterday.

It was also revealed that Park Chang-dal, a former chairman, who led the KFF for more than four years until he stepped down in July, was paid 575 million won in the name of “activity expenses.”

According to the federation’s articles of association, the group’s presidential position is honorary.

However, this wasn’t the first time the Seoul-based civic group has come under fire for misappropriating taxpayers’ money. In 2009, Kwon Jung-dal, another former KFF president, was convicted of embezzling 1 billion won and breach of trust. He was sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year suspended term.

More recently, the National Police Agency arrested three senior KFF members in April on charges that they embezzled a 130 million won government fund. The prosecution is still looking into that case.

The Public Administration Ministry said it will request an investigation into the irregular practices at the KFF, while demanding the group come up with measures to prevent future incidents.

On the organization’s Web site, Kim Myung-hwan, the current KFF president, said the anti-Pyongyang group has strived to serve as a guardian of freedom by suppressing anti-state activities by North Korean followers in the South and raising the importance of national security to the public.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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