Officials face charges for embezzling

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Officials face charges for embezzling

The Ministry of Education said yesterday it has filed charges with the prosecution against Kim Kyung-hee, chairwoman of Konkuk University’s board of directors, and the school’s former president, Kim Jin Q, for malpractice, embezzlement of school funds and the financial damage done to the university in that time.

The ministry has been scrutinizing the university’s accounting records since last November, when officials were tipped off by a whistle-blower.

Kim Kyung-hee allegedly allowed residents in a university-owned apartment complex to use a 24.2 billion won ($22.8 million) sports center, which the school also owned, for free over 40 years. She also used an additional 4.5 billion won in school funds to manage and maintain the facility. Kim has lived in the center’s penthouse apartment for six years, neglecting to pay rent, totaling 600 million won.

Additionally, “she traveled overseas eight times with about 100 million won from the school. She insisted they were business trips, but that was never proven,” an official from the Education Ministry said. “She also paid for her personal litigation expenses with school funds.”

Kim Jin Q, the former president, was accused of embezzling 200 billion won, which was supposed to be used toward the recruitment of medical doctors. The money was reportedly used to cover up his appropriation of funds from another association, of which he is a member. He also allegedly spent operating expenses of 130 million won and another 70 million with a university card, though never stated the purpose of those expenses.

He also used two senior care centers - the university’s for-profit properties - as his official residences during his terms without seeking permission from the board. He also spent 60 million won of educational expenditures to manage the residences. Kim Jin Q also permitted the university’s alumni association to use land owned by the school - which is only supposed to be used for educational purposes - without first obtaining permission.

After a monthlong audit, the ministry said that it has filed charges against 149 people involved in both cases. It called for disciplinary action for 14 people and warnings for 135 others.

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