KT chairman to face questions on donations

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KT chairman to face questions on donations

Police said Monday they plan to question the chairman of mobile carrier KT this week over his suspected involvement in illegal donations to lawmakers.

Hwang Chang-gyu has been asked to come to the National Police Agency at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, officials said.

Police have been investigating suspicions that former and incumbent KT executives paid some 90 legislators a combined 430 million won ($400,480) in illegal donations with company funds between 2014 and 2017.

Police suspect that Hwang either instructed them to do so or was briefed about it.

The Political Fund Act bans a registered firm or group from donating any funds to lawmakers. Donations made with company money is also forbidden.

Police have carried out raids at KT headquarters and its affiliates based on evidence that KT executives bought large amounts of gift vouchers with company funds and cashed them out for donations.

Police believe that the donations were given to lawmakers who belonged to the parliamentary committee in charge of telecommunications, in return for legislations and policies favorable to the Internet-only banking service, KT’s newest business.

“Depending on his statements, it is possible there will be a second interrogation [of Hwang],” an official said.

Hwang took the helm of the mobile carrier in 2014. The former Samsung Electronics executive is best known for his pioneering work in the development of memory chips.

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