The largest scandal to ever rock the Korean esports association (KeSPA) just got a lot more serious.
After facing extensive questioning on Nov. 20 about his involvement in a recent bribery scandal, Jeong Byung-Hun, KeSPA’s former chairman, has been hit with an arrest warrant from Korean prosecutors . The veteran politician, along with two of his former aides, are believed to have solicited a bribe from a major shopping network in 2015.
A payment of roughly $300,000 was sent to KeSPA from shopping network Lotte Homeshopping shortly before the company’s attempt to renew its business license. Jeong Byung-Hun was, at the time, sitting on the nation’s broadcasting and communications committee, and is believed to have asked for the bribe to help Lotte Homeshopping in the renewal process.
Prosecutors found that the money was later removed from the KeSPA account, and family members of the former chairman had received a large amount of shopping vouchers from the network.
While Jeong Byung-Hun maintained his innocence in the 17-hour-long hearing, the Seoul district prosecutors office appeared to be unconvinced, according to Korean news agency Yonhap. The charges issued against the former chairman are primarily centered around bribery and embezzlement.
Another charge levied at Jeong Byung-Hun involves what appears to be regular payments from four major companies in the Korean gaming industry to KeSPA during the 59-year-old’s tenure. Due to his position on the broadcasting and communications committee, Jeong Byung-Hun had substantial impact on the games industry in the country—and allegedly neglected to act on regulating microtransactions, despite the concerns of other elected officials. This eventually led the director of the games rating board, Yeo Myung-Sook, to name Jeong Byung-Hun outright during a hearing on Oct. 19, as the “root of the corruption” within the industry.
Yeo Myung-Sook’s allegations are believed to be one of the key pieces of information that led to the Korean prosecutors office’s raid on KeSPA headquarters on Nov. 7.
Jeong Byung-Hun left his position as a political aide to Korean president Moon Jae-In on Nov. 16, in light of the allegations facing him.