10 November 2017 - 21:06

Korean prosecutors arrest three amid growing KeSPA scandal

The association is embroiled in its biggest controversy yet.
CS:GO and Dota 2 Writer
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Photo via EsportsTV

Three days ago the South Korean prosecutor's office confirmed that it had raided the Korean esports Association's (KeSPA) offices. Now, it claims to have evidence of KeSPA's former chairman hosting a private meeting with a recently jailed CEO, shortly before being supplied with a substantial amount of money, according to Korean news site Maeli Business.

On Nov. 9, the prosecutor's office placed three people connected to the case under arrest. Two of these previously served under former KeSPA chairman Jeon Byung-Hun and allegedly laundered and embezzled a substantial amount of money the association received from South Korean shopping network Lotte Homeshopping. The money provided by Lotte Homeshopping came in the shape of a sponsorship for the second season of the StarCraft 2 event KeSPA Cup in November 2015.

Related: South Korean police raid offices of Korean Esports Association

The deal was allegedly brokered following a private meeting between Lotte Homeshopping CEO Kang Hyun-Gu, and former KeSPA chairman Jeon Byung-Hun—who previously sat on the nation's broadcasting and communications committee. Prior to Nov. 9, Korean prosecutors elected to withhold Byung-Hun's full name from Korean media, but after the recent arrest of two of his former aides, Korean news agency Yonhap mentioned the former chairman's full name in a report.

Currently acting as the presidential secretary for political affairs, Jeon Byung-Hun is believed to have been approached by Lotte Homeshopping's CEO in a private meeting before receiving the substantial sponsorship deal from the company. It is now believed that the meeting took place in an effort by Jeon Hyun-Gu to renew Lotte Homeshopping's broadcasting license. The attempt proved to be unsuccessful, as the network's broadcast license was partially revoked on May 26, 2016, after the company failed to submit a proper business license.

Jeon Byung-Hun has claimed that he has not engaged in any wrongdoing. It remains to be seen what consequences the investigation will have on KeSPA.

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