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Gov't revokes business licenses of two foundations at center of corruption scandal

2017/03/20 17:46

SEJONG, March 20 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean culture ministry on Monday canceled the business licenses of two foundations at the center of a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism notified them of the decision and said it will proceed with the legal process, expected to take 4-5 months, to dissolve the two foundations -- Mir and K-Sports -- allegedly controlled by Park's longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.

"We've reached a conclusion that there is a need to revoke their licenses in order to restore the public good infringed on by the illegal founding and management of the two foundations and maintain law and order in a fair manner," it said in a statement.

The decision came after the ministry held a hearing on Tuesday to listen to what the officials from the foundations had to say. The wealth of the foundations will be returned to the state coffers, or the person or institution that had contributed the money, depending on a court decision, the ministry said.

The Mir Foundation was founded in October 2015 and K-Sports was created in January 2016 under the guise of promoting Korean sports and culture.

But the special investigators' probe found that they illegally raised 77.4 billion won (US$64.7 million) from 53 Korean companies. And the former president and Choi are believed to have been deeply involved in the process, which became one of the main reasons for the March 10 ruling by the Constitutional Court to uphold the impeachment.

The captured image from Yonhap News TV shows the logos for the Mir and K-Sports foundations. (Yonhap) The captured image from Yonhap News TV shows the logos for the Mir and K-Sports foundations. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

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