S. Korea's CJ group boss detained over slush fund

The head of South Korea's largest food and entertainment conglomerate, CJ Group, was detained Monday over alleged tax evasion and embezzlement, a report said.

Lee Jae-Hyun, 53, was held after a court approved the prosecution's request for an arrest warrant for the country's 10th richest man, Yonhap news agency said.

The CJ Group boss is alleged by the prosecution to have dodged around 70 billion won ($61.4 million) in taxes to create secret funds and misappropriated another 100 billion won in company money, according to Yonhap.

He was also accused of inflicting financial losses worth 35 billion won to the group by fraudulently purchasing two buildings in Tokyo, Yonhap said.

The court's decision is relatively tough in a country where convicted business tycoons are often given suspended prison terms in recognition of their apparent contribution to the national economy.

South Korea has a long history of pardoning powerful tycoons.

Hyundai Motor head Chung Mong-Koo, who had been convicted of embezzlement and other charges, was pardoned in 2008, and Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-Hee -- convicted of tax evasion -- was pardoned in 2009.

In January, SK group boss Chey Tae-Won was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of embezzling close to $50 million.

The SK Group boss appealed the verdict.

It is not unusual for top executives with convictions for crimes including tax evasion and embezzlement to remain in charge of South Korea's family-dominated conglomerates.

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