Former KeSPA chairman maintains innocence during ongoing bribery scandal
Two weeks after Korean prosecutors raided the headquarters of the Korean esports Association (KeSPA), the association's former chairman has been interviewed by police.
Jeon Byung-Hun, who acted as KeSPA chairman from 2013 to 2016, was one of the targets in an anti-corruption probe. Jeon and two of his former aides allegedly solicited a bribe of $300,000 from Lotte Homeshopping, a division of Korean retail conglomerate Lotte Group. The sum was then apparently transferred to KeSPA, and then out of the association's coffers to the two aides.
Korean prosecutors claim the bribe was used as a way to influence Jeon, who at the time sat on the nation's Broadcasting and Communications Committee. The transfer of money occurred shortly before the home shopping network sought to renew its business license, which was subsequently denied after it was revealed it contained falsified information.
Jeon maintained his innocence prior to his first hearing on Nov. 20. He pointed the finger at his two former aides as the main culprits. "I apologize for the lapses of my two former aides," he said, according to the Korea Herald. "I feel terrible for causing trouble to the presidential office."
The Korean prosecutors office issued arrest warrants for the aides on Nov. 9.
Whether Jeon is found to have committed any criminal wrongdoing, the impact of the scandal has caused him to resign from his position as the Korean president's secretary of foreign affairs. This is the first major corruption scandal to affect the recently sworn-in Korean president Moon Jae-In's inner circle, which could have major implications for the president, who ran on a platform of anti-corruption.
As it stands, the investigation against the former KeSPA chairman does not seem to have affected the daily activities of the association—the 2017 KeSPA Cup in League of Legends began today.